australia culture facts -Australian unwrapped

Flags are an interesting social symbol: even though they are only a combo of colors, stripes, coats of arms and emblems, they are sometimes the first thing that pops into our head when we think of a certain country.

The same goes for the flag of Australia: for many people worldwide who have never visited or don’t have a mental picture of Australia, the blue-red flag is one of the first things that comes to their mind.

The flag of Australia closely resembles the flags of New Zealand, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, and some dependencies of the UK (British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands…). Even though it’s similar to these, the Australian flag is one of the most recognized flags worldwide.

Many people around the world wonder about the story behind the Australian flag. Why is there a British flag in the corner? What’s with all the stars? To answer these questions and give a short history of the flag of Australia, we’ve prepared this short overview.

What does the flag of Australia look like?

The flag of Australia has a blue background. It’s composed of the Union Jack and 6 white stars.

The Flag of Australia

On the left half of the flag, the British flag (Union Jack) is on the upper left corner, and the Commonwealth Star is in the lower left corner.

The Commonwealth star is a big star with seven points. It’s also known as The Federation Star. The 7 points of this star symbolize the 6 original states of Australia + 1 for future states:

Federation Star

On the right half of the flag, there is the Southern Cross constellation. It’s composed of 5 stars: one smaller star and four 7-pointed stars. This constellation is the brightest one seen from the Southern Hemisphere, and consists of stars Alpha Crucis, Beta Crucis, Gamma Crucis, Delta Crucis and Epsilon Crucis.

Southern Cross Stars

What are the colors of the Australian flag?

There are 3 colors used on the flag of Australia, along with their color codes:

  • Cool Black (#012169)
  • White (#FFFFFF)
  • Spanish Red (#E4002B)

You can use these color codes for the flag of Australia if you’re making a digital/photoshop version.

The official colors have not been given in the Flags Act, but these are the colors specified by the Australian government:

  • Blue (#00008B)
  • White (#FFFFFF)
  • Red (#FF0000)

When is Australian National Flag Day?

Australian Flag Day is 3 September. The flag was first designed in 1901, as a result of a design competition. The first time it was flown was in Melbourne, on this exact date – September 3rd. It changed design slightly over the next couple of years and was formally recognized in the Flags Act 1953 as the National Flag of Australia.

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