In October 1995, internationally renowned Australian artist/designer Ken Done sent Ausflag sixteen designs for the Australian flag which he had been asked to create by the Prime Minister, the Hon P.J. Keating. They were subsequently put on the Ausflag web site. Mr Done has had a long relationship with Ausflag and had created designs dating back to 1981.
In early December 1995, Ken Done invited Ausflag′s Executive Director Harold Scruby to his studios at The Rocks in Sydney to discuss the designs and they met on 6 December. Mr Done said out of all his designs he preferred his blue and gold southern cross design. This design had taken the southern cross from the existing flag and extended the four large stars in a symmetrical manner to what is equivalent to the North, South, East and West points of the flag. They were not dissimilar to the positions of the four main stars on the Eureka Flag (minus the cross). The fifth star, Epsilon, was between the Easterly and Southerly points.
Mr Scruby made several suggestions about this design. First he suggested that the dimensions be changed from a ratio of 3:5 to a ratio of 2:3 (this ratio is commonly used in Europe and is becoming more popular internationally). Secondly he suggested enlarging and giving more bulk to the main stars (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) in the southern cross. They had further discussions about whether the fifth and smallest star, Epsilon, was actually needed as countries like New Zealand only use the four stars of the Southern Cross. Similarly, only four stars appear on the NSW state flag.
Mr Done produced his new flag the next day. It was in his preferred colours of azure blue (mid-blue) and yellow (gold). Mr Scruby informed Mr Done that the Lord Mayor of Sydney, councillor Frank Sartor, had formally endorsed the flying of new Australian flag designs around the city and Mr Scruby suggested having this design made into flags and flying them around the city and gauging the public′s reaction. Mr Done very kindly donated some funds to Ausflag for this purpose.
To give a wider variety of choice, Mr Scruby suggested that two additional flags be made up in different colour ways, one in dark blue and white (an evolutionary design from the current Australian flag for the purists) and one in dark blue and yellow.
The flags were manufactured and the new designs were first flown at the Done Christmas Party at The Rocks on 19 December 1995.
For the next several weeks, Mr Scruby flew the three designs on various flag poles at Whale Beach, north of Sydney, to get a small sample of public reaction. Quite clearly, the dark blue and yellow was widely preferred over the azure blue and yellow. The dark blue stood out more definitively against the sky and gave far more prominence to the yellow/gold stars because of the greater contrast. It was also a more evolutionary flag, because the dark blue matched the existing Australian flag.
Mr Scruby had another meeting with Mr Done in mid January 1996 and they discussed his empirical findings. Mr Scruby suggested substituting a dark green and yellow design for the azure blue and yellow design. He was of the view that many Australians would want to see a "green and gold" flag as they are Australia′s proclaimed and official National Colours. While both he and Mr Done clearly favoured the dark blue and gold design, they felt it was politically and democratically correct to fly this new option. Additionally, they felt that it would only serve to highlight the dark blue and gold flag when flown next to it.
Mr Done and Ausflag′s Chairman, the Hon Sir Richard Kirby AC, then appeared in both the Sunday-Telegraph and Sun-Herald newspapers showing the new design. The Sunday-Telegraph also included a full colour double page lift-out depicting the three new designs, several of Ausflag′s earlier designs and a brief history of the Australian flag.
The three flags will be officially raised by the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Frank Sartor on Sunday 28 January 1996 at midday. He will be accompanied by Mr Done and Sir Richard Kirby. For a month following, 150 of these flags will fly all over the City of Sydney and South Sydney in such areas as William Street, Macquarie Street, Anzac Parade, and Circular Quay. Additionally, radio station 2DAY-FM will be distributing "Our Own Flag" stickers in the three designs all over Sydney, from their "Black Thunder" vehicles and will be conducting a phone-in survey to gauge the public′s feelings about the designs.
The flags are large, 100% Australian made, 2.4 m by 1.6 m, dye-dispersed printed, polyester trilobal flags. They are $85 including sales tax plus $10 delivery. Anyone wishing to purchase these flags can obtain them through:
Attention: Mr Rob Simpson or Mr Stratton Simpson
8 Hannabus Place
WINDSOR NSW 2756
Tel: (02) 894 6699
Fax: (045) 77 6633
Stickers of the Ken Done/Ausflag designs in the three colour combinations are also available from the 2DAY-FM `Black Thunders′, the Main Door of the Sydney Town Hall, and from Ken Done shops.
Ausflag would like to thank Mr Ken Done, Councillor Frank Sartor (Lord Mayor of Sydney) and Sydney City Council, Councillor Vic Smith (Lord Mayor of South Sydney) and South Sydney Council, Southern Cross Flags, The Sunday-Telegraph, 2DAY-FM and Acme Preston Labels for supporting Ausflag and assisting in promoting these new Australian flag designs.