Flags of Australia


We’re back at Apollo Bay on the southern coast of Victoria and talking about flags   Here we have the turning of the first sod of the Anglican Church in Australia at Apollo Bay in 1905.  And the  babe in arms is none other than Charles Fricke who later lived in Castlemaine and volunteered in the Militia between the wars, and whom I’ve written about before


Here  Charles is held by his mother with his father. wearing his hat at a rakish angle,  standing next to her looking at the camera. There had been no Anglican Church for his parents to marry in so their wedding service had been held in the local Mechanics Hall. 

Australia had been a separate nation with its own flag since 1901 but the flag on display is the British Union Jack. At this stage the ‘Anglican Church in Australia’ was still organized by the church in England, hence the British flag and not the Australian one.  It remained this way until 1961 when the Australian church separated and had its own Primate, later changing its name to the ‘Anglican Church of Australia ‘.  Here is a more recent picture of the beautiful little Gothic-style church. It was  completely built from local timbers as the area had no all-weather roads to bring in other materials and is virtually unchanged since it was built.


Australia had had its own flag since 1901, the design being the result of a competition. An exhibition of the nearly 40,00 entries was opened at the Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne on September 3rd, 1901 and the winning entry flew for the first time above the dome of the Exhibition Building.


A flag is a symbol of a nation and our flag tells the story of how the British Nation established a new society across the seas under the constellation of the Southern Cross. A larger star, the Commonwealth Star at first had six points to represent the federation of the six states in Australia. A seventh point was added later to represent the Territories such as the Northern Territory, the A.C.T (Australian Capital Territory), Norfolk Island, etc. The wisdom of the past and the hopes of the future.

So far, so good.  But it’s amazing what a learning experience putting together little bits and pieces for Sepia Saturday can be.  I didn’t know that  the winning flag design was never debated in the Australian Parliament – it was sent to England to be approved and it wasn’t until late 1902 that King Edward VII formally notified the Australian Government of the approval.

But  the flag still had no legal status beyond the original British Admiralty authorisations which only related to use at sea. It wasn’t until 1953 that the Flag Act was passed by the Menzies Government and Australia finally had an official national flag, one that was required to be flown in a superior position to any other national flag (including the Union Flag). Good on you old Bob Menzies!

Which goes a long way to explaining how, while  having its own Australian flag, the Union Jack continued to be used.


In 1915, Britain could not supply money for war loans. The Australian Government, under Prime Minister Billy Hughes, put in place a series of War Savings loans at 4.5% interest which later rose to 5%.

Well I wouldn’t mind 4½% at the moment, thank you !

11 thoughts on “Flags of Australia

      1. Jackie

        I must agree I always find sepia Saturday an education, I learn new and interesting things every week!
        I love the picture of the poster you have included in your post and that’s a great photo you started with.


  1. Jackie van Bergen

    We had a guy come to our historical society meeting last year and talk about flags. He was quite fanatical about them but a font of knowledge and it was really interesting to learn about the competition and the origins of various flags.



    I wouldn’t mind either.
    Interest rates have been too low,
    keeping investments at a near stand still…
    Nice take on the flag.
    I didn’t know about the southern cross.
    One learns something new everyday,
    especially with SS.
    I did a piece on the old Canadian flag, the Red Ensign,
    and I also discovered things back then.


    1. lazycoffees Post author

      I had a look at your Red ensign post and it was very interesting to see the similarity in the history of our flags. I think it’s great the way you have it displayed. Regardless of where we’re going now I think it is so important to respect our past.



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