This week I'm taking a break from my usual format of fixing state/province flags and looking at one on the national level:
I've been criticizing Australian state flags for sticking too close to the national template, but the national flag isn't that great either. As flags that use the Union Jack go (and aren't the UK flag), this is one of the best, mostly because the constellation pattern is much better than the usual seal that accompanies the flags of Fiji, the Falklands, and Montserrat. On an overall flag scale though, it falls behind the simplicity, elegance, and uniqueness of Canada, South Africa, and Japan.
This is not a problem of which Australians are unaware. Just before the 2000 Sydney Olympics, an organization called AusFlag put out a poster that challenged Aussies to identify their national banner from a group of state, provincial, colonial, and yacht club flags, all of which used the Union Jack design. This organization and others like it (including the Flag Society of Australia) are pushing for a better flag for the commonwealth (or republic even, depending on which site you're looking at, some use the flag debate to argue for severing many ties to the UK), one which is more representative of the nation and its people. They have put forward some great designs over the years, so I'll just show a few of my favorites:
This flag was designed by Harold Scruby and portrays the Southern Cross "shining over the great red island continent, surrounded by the seas." That seems to say it all. Kangaroos are another popular theme, ranging from great designs to spin-offs of the Qantas logo. This flag is one of the former:
This flag reminds me of Papua New Guinea's, and I really like that one. The design is by Russell Kennedy and uses the Southern Cross and kangaroo to great effect. It is also a great example of a reconciliation flag, one which uses the colors and imagery of the Australian Aboriginal flag (which I have shown and used in previous posts) and the current national flag. But I can't talk about reconciliation flags without showing you this last example:
Designed by Brenden Jones, this places the Commonwealth Star (a much-used symbol of Australia, each point representing states and territories) in the Aboriginal side and utilizes black, red, yellow, and blue. I kind of like the boomerang shape, but I can't help seeing East Timor's flag when I look at this one.
If I were given a vote (though as an American, I doubt Aussies care what I think), I would go for the second flag I presented, Russell Kennedy's, but this post has barely scratched the surface of the amazing designs out there. Green and yellow are often used as the national colors of Australia, showing up on uniforms and sports stuff, and there are lots of great flag ideas that use that color scheme. I highly encourage folks to check out AusFlag and the Australian Flag Society for more.
Thanks to wok for helping me remember I wanted to talk about this.