Australian National Flag Day is an opportunity for individuals, community organisations, local authorities, businesses and schools to celebrate with pride the anniversary of the Australian National Flag.
Australian National Flag Day, proclaimed in 1996 as a national day, celebrates the first time the flag was flown on 3 September 1901. On that day Prime Minister Edmund Barton announced the winners of a competition to design a flag for Australia. At that time the flag was known as the Commonwealth blue ensign; later, the flag became known as the Australian National Flag.
The idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Australian National Flag dates from 1984. In that year John Christian Vaughan, a noted vexillographer and historian, arranged for the NSW branch of the Australian National Flag Association (ANFA) to observe 3 September as “National Flag Day” at a public ceremony held in Hyde Park, Sydney. In several newspaper articles, radio and television appearances over the following years, Vaughan continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of 3 September as Australia’s “National Flag Day”.
Vaughan encouraged all the other state branches of the ANFA to promote and organise Flag Day ceremonies for members and the general public to participate in. The recognition and popularity of Flag Day continued to grow with each passing year and in 1989 the Governor of NSW, Sir David Martin, delivered a Flag Day address at Tumbalong Park, Sydney in which he said, “I come here as someone who is proudly Australian, I come here out of respect for a Flag which is proudly Australian”
Flag Day 1996 was the 95th anniversary of our national flag and an official ceremony took place in the Martin Place Amphitheatre in the centre of Sydney. On that occasion Dr Brendan Nelson, MP, Federal member of Parliament introduced the Hon. David Jull, MP, Minister for Administrative Services, who read a message from the Prime Minister, the Hon. John Howard, MP. He then presented the ANFA with a copy of the proclamation. by Sir William Deane.
All Australians are encouraged to fly or display the Australian National Flag to celebrate Australian National Flag Day on 3 September each year.
Here are some ideas to help you celebrate Australian National Flag Day:
- Conduct a flag-raising ceremony.
- Business and organisations which don’t have a flagpole may wish to display the Australian National Flag in the public areas of their buildings, such as foyers.
- Read about the history of the Australian National Flag and the protocols for flying the flag.
- Request a copy of the Australian flags booklet
- Print the Australian National Flag Day fact sheet.
Australian National Flag Day in 2001 marked 100 years since the flag was first raised. A re-enactment ceremony was held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. The then Prime Minister was presented with the Centenary Flag at this event.