110th Anniversary of the current design of the Australian National Flag

110th Anniversary of the current design of the Australian National Flag

Government Australian National Flag
Thursday, 06 December 2018

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

History of the original design of the Australian National Flag

In 1901, Prime Minister the Rt Hon Sir Edmund Barton MP, announced an international competition to design a flag for the Commonwealth of Australia. Five near-identical entries were awarded equal first place from more than 30,000 designs. The designers shared the prize of £200. The story of the designers is on the PM&C website at www.pmc.gov.au/flag.

The Australian National Flag flew for the first time on 3 September 1901 from the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

King Edward VII approved the design for the Flag of the Commonwealth of Australia (Gazette, 20 February 1903). This design only had six points on the Commonwealth Star.

The Commonwealth Star

The Commonwealth Star (also known as the Federation Star) is a seven-pointed star symbolising the Federation of Australia which came into force on 1 January 1901. Six of the star’s points represent the Australian states and the seventh point represents the territories.

The original star had six points to represent the six states of Australia. In 1908, a seventh point was added to represent Australia's territories.

A change to the design

To accommodate the addition of a seventh point to the Commonwealth Star a change in the design of the Australian National Flag was required.

On 8 December 1908, the then Governor-General directed the publication of an alteration in the design of the Commonwealth Flag of Australia.

Original flag design approved in 1903  (Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No 8, 20 February 1903) The Australian National Flag Unchanged for 110 years