Australia National Flag

Australian National Flag 1909-1954

Flag Adopted: 22 May 1909
Flag Proportion: 1:2
Use: Civil Ensign and unofficial National Flag on Land

From 1909 to 1954, the Australian National flag as generally flown by private citizens (i.e. the civil flag) was a British Red Ensign defaced with a Southern Cross badge and federation star of the same design as on the current Australian national flag. Although officially this flag was intended for use at sea only, there was much confusion amongst the public about which flag to fly on land, with the red and blue ensigns and Union Jack often being used interchangeably, depending upon the preference of the user.

The previous Australian flag had a federation star comprising six points to represent the six Australian states. In 1906 Australia acquired the Territory of Papua, and to indicate this the number of points on the federation star was increased to seven in 1908 but the remainder of the flag was left unchanged. This design change was promulgated in the Government Gazette on 22 May 1909.

When the Northern Territory and ACT were created as Federal Territories in 1911, a decision was made not to increase the number of points on the Federation Star. Instead, the seventh point would represent all territories and states created after 1901.

Australian National Flag 1909-1954

Flag Adopted: 20 February 1903
Flag Proportion: 1:2
Use: Government Flag and Ensign

The design of the Southern Cross on the "official" or Government flag was also changed at the same time.


Australian Flags
Department of Administrative Services, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1995.

Flag of Stars
Frank Cayley, Rigby Ltd, Adelaide, 1966.

Flags of Australia (chart)
John C Vaughan, Standard Publishing House, Sydney, 1983.

Flags of the Nations (chart)
Flag Society of Australia, Flag Research Center, and National Australia Bank, Australia, 1992.