A NEW AUSTRALIAN FLAG – my two bob’s worth

After all the flag-waving of Australia Day, we turn our minds to that annual bone of contention – how soon can we get a new Australian flag?

Yes, the diggers fought under the one we’re using now, and let’s not forget they fought under the Union Jack before that. And God Save the Old Girl and long may she reign, because, as the barmy army of English cricket fans have been taunting us, (sung to the tune of Yellow Submarine), ‘Your next queen is Camilla Parker-Bowles, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Camilla Parker-Bowles!’ I’m sure Camilla is a lovely person, and she and Prince Charles are welcome out here any time they care to buy air tickets, but I don’t want to foot the bill for any more official royal visits.

That Union Jack in the corner isn’t the only outdated part of the current design. Due to light pollution we can’t see little Southern Cross star Epsilon without a telescope now, and the ACT and Northern Territory both deserve their own points on the Commonwealth star.

It’s been time for a change for a very long time.

The Canadians managed to do it back in February 1965.

The Canadians fought under this, but is there any Canadian who regrets replacing it with...

...something strong, simple and instantly recognisable? When travelling, stitch it on your backpack and everyone will know you're not American.

'Pearson's Pennant' was the then Canadian PM's preferred option.

Controversy like this gives those of us who are not visual artists an excuse to click on the paint box on the computer and have a play around.

I’m not sold on the kangaroo idea; too hard to draw, and Qantas has already claimed the stylish, stylised version. That cheesy boxing kangaroo was only fun for the short time between winning the America’s Cup in 1983 and Alan Bond’s fall from grace.

Aboriginal flag

The Aboriginal flag is a triumph – simple and very popular, with easily remembered symbolism and distinctive colours – red for the land, black for the people, yellow for the sun. For more information about the Aboriginal flag, click here.

But the Aboriginal flag, like the Eureka flag (adopted by the Australian union movement) is too much associated with conflict and oppression to serve as a nationally inclusive symbol.

Of the state flags, I like the Northern Territory’s one. I don’t know what it means, but it’s the most recognisable.

The Northern Territory flag

The single symbol that resonates most with Australians is the Southern Cross. It’s a shame it’s on the New Zealand flag too, and the New Guinea one, and tattooed on the biceps of all the wrong people, or is that just my prejudice against ‘body art’ in general?

I’d prefer not to have a red, white and blue colour scheme. It’s already used by Britain, the USA, France, the Netherlands, Thailand, Serbia, Croatia…to name but a few. Green and gold together always look bad to me, even on one-day cricket uniforms. I’m leaning towards ochre and blue as the dominant colours, with a white or yellow trim. They’re a good strong combination and nobody else uses them.

Okay, here are my efforts…

The land, the beach, the sun and the Southern Cross on the angle at which it usually appears.

I'm not sure about the black and white dividing line...may make it too busy and send the wrong message.

Perhaps less is more.

I borrowed the forward pointing V from the website of Gavin Putland, though I changed his colours.

The big Commonwealth star should have eight points, but my program won't do such complex things, at least not with me as the operator.

Or for those who must have green and gold in there...

Last try. Promise.

There are plenty of other possible designs on the AUSFLAG website, all of them preferable to what we have now. Sadly, I fear that sheer apathy and ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ attitudes will prevent any progress on the matter.

We’ll talk about it again this time next year.


Filed under Travel-Australia

19 responses to “A NEW AUSTRALIAN FLAG – my two bob’s worth

  1. bagnidilucca

    It’s a hard one, isn’t it. I’m not a fan of ochre – too much like baby poo.

    • Depends what you feed them on, BdL. Ours were more yellowish. I can just remember. But as Ben Elton said to Parky, ‘You better get some practice changing your grandchildren’s nappies – you’ll be changing your own soon enough.’

      • michael

        An extremely rude (but terminally cute!) pommy sheilah gave me a pack of adult nappies for my 60th. The beautifully-wrapped package was huge, so a crowd gathered as I unwrapped it – & lifted the roof off with their howls of laughter!

  2. I know a couple of Canadians and they are so happy with their new flag. I always suggest the KISS principle. My Aussie flag would be navy blue with the southern cross.

    Would that design offend Aboriginals? Possibly. I doubt they would approve any flag without their colours on it.

    I think that this issue will simmer until Queen Liz dies or abdicates then we will become a republic and with a republic surely comes a new flag.


    • Yes, Jack, I believe there was a push for the simple Southern Cross on navy blue background somewhere in the 1990s.

      I could certainly live with it. There was an alternative proposed of a gold Southern Cross on a green background – much less appealing in my opinion.

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. Pingback: US Flag Star Light

  4. I agree that it is not disrespectful to our soldiers past and present to introduce a new Australian flag. After all, it is Australia they fought/fight for and not the specific flag design. It seems like the Canadian example is the best way to illustrate that point.

    I like your subsequent suggestions, although I really think the green and gold inclusion is important.

    As you know i uploaded some designs here:

    • I only wish green and gold LOOKED better. However, of course it’s just a matter of taste, and it would be impossible to choose a design or even a colour scheme that completely satisfies you, me, and 20 million others. I fear that will be the reason for the ‘do nothing’ approach, particularly now all our politicians consult ‘focus groups in the marginal electorates’ and media minders before saying or doing anything.

  5. Richard, I might get the old sewing machine out and see if can whip something up based on your stuff. I rather like the leaning southern cross. It would look excellent flying on the turret at The Drip.

  6. Wendy

    I’ve often thought that using the design of the Aboriginal flag but changing the colours , blue for the sky instead of black, and green for the land instead of red, but keeping the sun yellow would be the perfect ( simple ) Aussie flag and would make sense of us cheering for our green and gold!

  7. Emma Gosbell

    Hi Richard 🙂
    Flicking through your website I found this article and it’s sort of funny because I did an Persausive English oral on the same subject at the end of last term! I completely agree though that we desperately need a new flag (but maybe we should leave it to the experts design one??)

  8. Pingback: THE ABORIGINAL FLAG – why it works | Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

  9. Will

    I vote for your first effort (tilted cross)–snappy, instantly recognizable (once you know it), offers a nod to the Aboriginal flag design. Nice work.

  10. David

    Well done Richard. I dropped in while getting upset about a Chinese made Australian flag with the wrong dimensions and I am still annoyed about a painting at a State school paid for by the State Gov. that had epsilon painted with four points. I get annoyed easily as I age it seems.
    Your efforts were very good I thought and I also support the concept with the flag that less is more. However, rather than be seen as apathetic with regard to changing the flag I would rather get the hospital system fixed than the flag changed.
    Improve transport rather than before becoming a Republic and improve ….well you get the idea.
    Still before I am howled down (nicely) I do accept that those issues need not be mutually exclusive but as for your flag passion ….I know but cannot share it, My love is otherwise..
    Again, good effort.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, David.

      I agree there are higher priorities than changing the flag. And think of the expense involved – all those poor patriots who’d need to get their tattoos replaced.

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