Union Jacks and Southern Skies - part one, section three

No Flag Without a Union Jack

Thus, while on the one hand, the Review of Reviews was saying it would take all designs, on the other hand it was saying that the flag should show "kinship with the Empire" (the Union Jack being the most obvious symbol) and that any design not including the Union Jack would "have small chance of success". Indeed, the final report from the judges declared that "it was apparent that a Commonwealth flag, to be representative, should contain: the Union Jack...". 32,823 designs were entered into the competition, but following the instructions so obviously spelt out, "the great majority ... contained the Union Jack and Southern Cross", leading the judges to state "it was felt that the only additional emblem required was one representing the Federation of the six States". The inclusion of the Union Jack was a foregone conclusion.(7)

The winning design came in a set of two, as all entries did, as they had to submit two coloured sketches of their design: one for merchant use (in red) and one for naval or official use (in blue). The winning design consisted of three emblems: the Union Jack (officially called the Union Flag) in the upper hoist, also known as the Canton (the top left of the flag, in heraldic terms - the "place of honour" and most "honourable" part of the flag), the Federation Star in the Lower Hoist (bottom left), and the Southern Cross occupying the Fly (the right side of the flag).(8)

Not only was the flag competition set up so that the entrants understood that to win they must include a Union Jack, but the judges for the competition were all "Empire men", those who belonged to the Establishment and were certain to believe in Australia's place in the British Empire, thus guaranteeing that the Union Jack would receive pride of place in the new flag. The original judging panel consisted of six politicians (the State Premiers), and the later judging panel consisted of one politician (Captain Evans, M.H.A., Tasmania) and four current and former government officials (Captain Mitchell, Captain Eadie, Captain Clare, and Lieutenant Thompson), all of whom were certain to place the Union Jack in the flag.(9*)

No public referendum was held for the public to vote for a new flag, as that choice was to be kept in the hands of the British and Australian Governments.

Union Jacks and Southern Skies

Australian Nationalism Information Database - www.ausnatinfo.angelfire.com/~natinfo