Fun Flag Facts

Today 3 September is National Flag Day and what better time to explore the endless possibilities of flags as a gift wrapping motif (particularly flags featuring the classic red, white and blue colour combo) while simultaneously discovering a few fun flag facts?  Okay perhaps not hysterically funny facts but fact enough to put you ahead in most pub trivia contests.

Following federation in 1901, the new Commonwealth Government of Australia held a competition calling for public input into the design of a flag. Just as well they didn’t plan a plebiscite – we never would have got a flag. It was the first time in the whole of known history and the universe that a national flag had been chosen in this way. Uncommon then but a bit more common now – just ask our friends in New Zealand.

Did you know five people, including  a teenage optician’s apprentice from Leichhardt and a 14 year old schoolboy from Melbourne tied for the honour of designing the Australian flag, sharing the 200 pound prize money which was a mighty sum in 1901  – about the equivalent of the annual average wage.

Did you know the Australian National flag was first flown at The Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne ? Did you know The Australian National Flag Day was proclaimed by the then Governor-General in 1996 to ‘commemorate the day in 1901 on which the Australian national flag with its distinctive Southern Cross’ was first flown?

The Southern Cross is a constellation that can only be seen in the night skies of the Southern hemisphere. Did you know that the formal name of the Southern Cross is “Crux Australis” and that the individual stars are named by the first five letters of the Greek alphabet in order of brightness – (clockwise from the bottom star) Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon?  Did you know the other Government symbol which features the Commonwealth star is the Commonwealth Coat of Arms?

Did you also know that flags make a great gift wrapping motif if used respectfully? They are all about design and formality and look terribly fabulous all lined up en masse or used as major impact embellishment. Just be careful to ensure your flag always ends right way up – an upside down national flag is a big no no.

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