New wave design for State flag run up the pole

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 November 1996, p.5.


A new NSW flag, incorporating the State′s sky blue colours and its floral emblem, the waratah, will be adopted before the Sydney 2000 Olympics if a group of prominent citizens has its way.

Two alternative designs for the new flag will go on public display in William Street today. Supporters of a new flag include former Premiers and political opponents Mr Nick Greiner and Mr Barrie Unsworth, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Councillor Frank Sartor, and a number of sporting personalities.

The new flag would replace the one which was adopted in 1876 before Australia became a nation to conform with the requirements of the British Colonial Naval Defence Act of 1865.

A Herald-AGB McNair Poll last year found only 12 per cent of NSW people could accurately describe the NSW flag and even fewer could recollect all of the flag′s symbols accurately. Mr Greiner said yesterday: "I believe that a truly identifiable flag would greatly assist in fostering pride in the State and promoting NSW overseas. It is particularly important as we will be the State hosting the 2000 Olympics - a time when NSW will be on display to the world."

The first of the alternative designs is inspired by the Canadian flag, with sky blue vertical bars at each end and a prominent waratah against a white back ground in the centre. The second incorporates the Southern Cross on a navy blue background on the first third of the flag and a stylised waratah within a white circle against a sky blue background on the remaining two-thirds.

The present flag is the Blue Ensign, with the Union Jack in the left corner, and incorporates the Red Cross of St George with golden stars on the four arms of the cross and a golden lion at its centre.

The executive director of Ausflag, Mr Harold Scruby, who has co-ordinated the push for a new NSW flag, said it had its origins in a Herald editorial in November 1995 that called for a new State flag because of the poor level of public recognition of the existing flag.

Mr Scruby said he had not yet approached the Premier, Mr Carr, or the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Collins, because it was important for members of the public to have an opportunity to express their views before it was taken up by Parliament.

NSW cricket captain Greg Matthews, former rugby league player Wayne Pearce, former swimming champion Dawn Fraser, and yachting champions Sir James Hardy and Iain Murray are among backers of a new flag.