The great Australian flag survey

5 Basic principles of good flag design

1. Keep it simple
2. Use meaningful symbolism (symbols and colours)
3. Use 2-3 basic colours (plus white stars)
4. No lettering or seals
5. Be distinctive or be related

These are guidelines and some good flags break one or more rules

Note:
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Description for flag.
Please read the description for the flag first to understand its symbolism. 

You may not agree with all the Pro and Con comments, they are included to indicate potential good and bad aspects of the designs that you might consider. 

 CURRENT FLAG 
 Current Australian Flag

 


 
A defaced British blue ensign design indicating a British possession. This design style was required by Britain and the final Australian design was approved by the British authorities in 1902 to show British colonial possession of Australia, its land and people. Most British colonial flags, reserve the pride of place in the upper left quadrant (or canton) for the flag of the colonial power, Britain.

The British Empire this flag was designed for, no longer exists. The Australia act of 1986 removed British oversight of Australia and effectively gave Australia our independence. Other independent nations of the Commonwealth of Nations have discarded their colonial flags and now fly independent flags with their own national colours, styles and symbols (such as Canada, India, Pakistan, South Africa and most others). This does not require leaving the Commonwealth, nor becoming a republic and changing our political system..

The Southern Cross represents our geographic location and the seven pointed Federation star indicates the federation of the six states plus one extra point for the territories.

Pro: Familiar, balanced design. Southern Cross and Federation star look good on blue background

Con: Indicates possession by the British Empire. Disrespectful to the Indigenous population. Does not include our national colours (uses British colours). Does not indicate an independent nation.
  COMMON REQUESTS 
 Replace the Union Jack with the Aboriginal Flag

 

 
Replaces the Union Jack with the Aboriginal flag. This common request is supposed to show respect and sympathy for the original inhabitants of Australia, however it has been rejected by the designer and copyright owner of the Aboriginal flag (Harold Thomas) as being disrespectful and reducing the special significance of the aboriginal flag. 

Rather than indicating Australia is a British colony, this design would indicate that Australia was part of an aboriginal empire, and this is also not an accurate reflection of our status as an independent nation.

The resultant design is also poor, with dark colours touching and confusing symbols of stars and suns intermixed.

Pro: Designed to show respect for original inhabitants

Con: Is unacceptable to copyright holder of the aboriginal flag. Indicates we are part of an aboriginal colonial power. Design looks poor and patched together. Does not contain the Australian national colours of Green and Gold.
 Eureka Flag

 

 
The Eureka flag is steeped in Australian history, being first used as the war flag of the Eureka Rebellion of 1854 in Ballarat, Victoria. It is the first true Australian flag, as it has no British colonial representation. 

It was designed by Canadian miner "Captain" Henry Ross, a member of the Ballarat Reform League, with the central feature being the Southern Cross. According to some historians, Ross was inspired by the design of the Australian Federation Flag and incorporated the eight star cross which was a symbol of the Reform League.

The flag has had a strong association with the Australian labor movement and can often be seen during industrial disputes or flying over construction sites. It has come to mean workers rights and freedoms.

Using this flag as a national flag would remove the ability to use this flag as a union protest flag. The very people who use it now would be stripped of one of their most valuable symbols.

Pro: Strong historic significance. Balanced, reversible design.

Con: Is used as a union protest flag and would remove the protest flag from those who currently use it as such. Does not contain national colours, Uses eight pointed stars from the Reform League instead of Australia's normal seven.
  ORIGINAL DESIGNS 
 The Boomerang flag

 

 
The 7-point Federation Star represents the Commonwealth - one point for each of the six states and one point for the territories. The green represents the land and prosperity of the nation. The yellow or gold boomerang represents our connection to the aboriginal people as the original inhabitants. The Southern Cross represents our nation in the southern hemisphere as the Great Southern Land.

The design represents the strength and independence of the nation as it has now evolved from a colonial past.

Pro: Maintains Southern Cross and Fed Star from current flag, adds the national colours and the boomerang as a symbol of our indigenous history

Con: Boomerang is difficult to neatly fit into space. Changing background colours behind boomerang is unusual in flag designs.
 Kangaroo flag

 

 
The gold kangaroo represents the unique Australian wildlife, while the green represents the flora of Australia. Together they make up Australia's national colours of green and gold. 

The Southern Cross is retained as a symbol of our geography and the Federation star is a symbol of our unity of six states plus territories.

Pro: Looks distinctively Australian. Maintains key elements from current flag and incorporates national colours and symbols.

Con: Unfortunate position of the Federation Star makes it look like roo poo. Kangaroo is head butting the flagpole. Changing background colours behind a symbol is unusual.
 Reconciliation flag

 

 
A new flag design symbolically attempts to foster reconciliation while acknowledging the diverse history and heritage of Australia. 

The flag begins with a black band supporting a yellow federation star, inspired by the sun of the original Aboriginal flag but also representing the original states and the Commonwealth territories. The star houses 250 dots (the genus of so much Aboriginal art) that denote the spoken Aboriginal languages and the ethnic groups that have been part of Australia since 1788. A red boomerang - representing indigenous ingenuity - also symbolises the ochre of the land. The boomerang is bordered by a strip of white, resonant of the Union Jack, which gives way to a mass of blue (''girt'' by sea) that is punctuated by the Southern Cross stars in the green and yellow of the Torres Strait flag.

Pro: Combines existing flag elements of Australia, Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, has many indigenous symbols

Con: Busy design will not suit everyone, National colours are not prominent. Difficult to reproduce.
 Seven Golden Stars

 

 
The “Seven Golden Stars” flag includes the Southern Cross and the Federation Star (also known as the Commonwealth Star) from the Australian National Flag. The gold disc in the canton is derived from the Aboriginal Flag and represents the sun. The flag’s colours are the same as Australia’s national colours, green and gold. The sun is, of course, also a star. Hence the name “Seven Golden Stars”.

Pro: Contains the Southern Cross and Federation star as well as a symbol from the aboriginal flag

Con: Confusing design (sun and stars do not appear together), uses different symbols to represent similar items. Two colour design looks bland. Represents the aboriginals, but not Torres Strait Islanders.


 AUSFLAG 2000 Winner

 

 
The white southern cross on a blue ground featuring a bold gold Federation Star in place of the Union Jack.
 
Simply removing the Union Flag and moving the Federation Star to the place of prominence in the top left corner (or canton) and making it gold to make it stand out from the Southern Cross which remains in white, as in the current flag.

Pro: Simple modification from existing design. Changing Federation Star to gold gives it prominence and distinguishes it from the Southern Cross.

Con: Only one of the national colours is present. Unbalanced design looks like it is missing something.
 Australian Pale Red Roo


 

 
Using a design format already utilized by the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory flags, called "Australian Pale", this design uses the national colours of green and gold as background colours. The Southern Cross is represented in the hoist, while a red (or ochre) kangaroo is presented as the main element in the fly. The kangaroo is a recognized symbol for Australia and the red colour represent the red center and connection with the earth.

Pro: National colours are prominent. Consistent with existing NT and ACT flags

Con: Kangaroo is not preferred symbol by many people. May look more like an army flag than a national flag. No Federation Star.
 Southern Horizon


 


The green and gold waves represent the Australian landscape. The forests, eucalyptus trees and pastures, separated by beaches, sand dunes and rich mineral wealth are represented. The blue represents the sky and land "girt" by sea.

The Seven-pointed Federation star represents the six states, plus one point for the Australian territories. The Southern Cross is one of the most distinctive constellations visible in the Southern Hemisphere and is used to represent Australia's geographic location as the "Great Southern Land".

Pro: Evolutionary design with familiar look and symbols, National Colours, Balanced design with "modern look"

Con: Waves may look dated in future and are unusual flag elements.
 Unity Flag


 

 
The Federation Star glows over the golden land bound by oceans. The design takes the Federation Star from the current flag and wraps it in our national colours. This flag shows we are one people under our great country.

Pro: Simple, national colours prominent, same solid pattern as Canada's often cited and inspirational flag

Con: Some might miss the Southern Cross, unusual bordering white star in another colour.
 Southern Cross over Uluru


 

 
A representation of Uluru or the red center is used to symbolise our land. This is bordered by white with a Southern Cross flying in the blue sky.

A variant of this design has the Southern Cross centered for better balance.

Pro: Simple, elegant design.

Con: No national colours, no Federation star, unbalanced design.
 Golden Kangaroo

 

 
The golden kangaroo is used as a symbol of Australia's unique wildlife. The nation colours are prominently displayed.

This design uses the same style as Canada but with Australia's colours and symbols.

Pro: Simple design, recognisable elements, balanced design

Con: No Southern Cross or Federation star, may be too simple and more a sporting flag, some people see the kangaroo as a cliche symbol and not suitable.
 Southern Cross and Boomerang


 

 
Southern Cross and Boomerang, all stars are seven-pointed to bring harmony and enlarged for boldness until they kiss. When hung by the hoist i.e. vertically, the SKY, SEA, BEACH AND BUSH. This environmental aspect gives the design depth. The twelve red dots on the boomerang can be the dreaming track, song lines, footprints on the beach, the rainbow serpent, our unfinished journey to equality, beach umbrellas, a Shane Warne googly and more. Interpretations are encouraged.

Pro: National colours, aboriginal symbolism, can be viewed vertically or horizontally

Con: No federation star, Changing orientation and design of Southern Cross may not appeal to everyone, Red dots do not have a specific meaning. Changing the background color behind the boomerang is unusual. Having the boomerang not fully on the flag is unusual.
 Green and Gold Australian Pale

 

 
This design uses the same layout as the flags of the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory (called Australian Pale). The Southern Cross is placed in the fly while the Federation Star is put in the position of honor in the canton. This is inverted from the Territory flags to indicate the National flag.

The Federation Star is elevated to give it prominence.

Pro: National Colours. Uses familiar, Australian design layout. Design layout could easily be extended for state flags.

Con: Unbalanced design, looks a bit like a sporting flag
     

Don't like these designs? Think you can do better? Have an opinion that needs to be heard?
Why not join us in our discussion on the various flag designs at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChangeTheAussieFlag/