Many months ago, when I needed to reproduce the Australian flag on a web page, I saw a
problem. The "problem" was with the medium, not the flag. Two of my clip art
collections differed in their depiction of the flag (neither was accurate) and I didn't
like the way the stars were distorted when reduced to the desired size.
While driving to work, I was often held up at the traffic lights where the West Gate
Freeway joins Kingsway. Directly opposite the Shell service station is a small business
that meant well when it proudly displayed an "Australian" flag on its hoarding,
but had grossly exceeded the bounds of artistic licence -- every element in that flag was the wrong shape or size. [That business has closed and the flag has gone, thank goodness. 4/01]
Sometimes, when I ate at my local RSL club, I wondered why the Australian flag on its
restaurant's chalkboard menu was allowed to get away with a rendition that differs
markedly from a real flag on display across the room. [Now fixed. 1/99]
Like many Aussies, a new flag was not high on my list of priorities, but the growing
interest in this subject caught my attention. If we are going to change it, then
I'd like to offer another point of view.
The present flag is difficult to draw for most people:
If some signwriters cannot "get it right", what hope is there for the
artistically challenged? Have you looked at your clip art lately? How much latitude should
be allowed before a rendition insults the flag?
Is it OK to throw an approximation of the British flag and six stars more or less in the
same place as the official design and call it an Australian flag?
Have you noticed the wandering Federation Star in different renditions?
What are the sizes and relative positions of the stars in the Southern Cross?
Compare these two images of the British flag. How many people know which is the correct depiction?
Our flag is difficult to reproduce at small sizes without loss of detail, particularly
on the Web. See the current flag depictions below, taken from various clip art collections, assuming you can find the "right" one.
(Ignore slight colour variations.)
My two designs were inspired by Canada's simple, but striking flag, and my choice is
the blue-and-white version at the top of this page. Here are some of my reasons:
The Federation/Commonwealth Star becomes the predominant element. An 8-pointed star
allows for 8 states and the orientation depicted here hints at the crosses on the British
flag. (The star on the current flag has seven points.) State flags could adopt this star
in their designs.
The new design reduces well for Web depiction. The Southern Cross does not.
The Southern Cross is not unique to the Australian flag. NZ, PNG, and Western Samoa also
use it. (Despite what a delegate said about colour blindness
at the recent Constitutional Convention, the NZ flag is not "red"!)
The current and new flags both have a 1:2 height-to-width ratio and the new design will
fit existing halyards easily.
The new design is symmetric, thus easy to remember and recognise from either side.
Its design is unlike any other flag in the world, whether depicted in monochrome or
It is impossible to hoist the "wrong way up" (8-pointed star). This feature
would be appreciated by many junior staff in the military.
The blue and white segments have a 1:2 ratio.
The new design is child's play.
The new design lends itself to adaptation for the design of award regalia, RAAF
roundels, cloth patches, lapel pins, etc.
It also lends itself to ASCII depiction in e-mail: ||*||
The colours of the current flag are retained in some versions. The designs at the left
are less likely to be confused for the Canadian flag in a stiff breeze or when the flag is
limp on a flagpole.
The red maple leaf of the Canadian flag has been borrowed for numerous other purposes
that shout "Canada!" - the 8-pointed star can become a recognisable emblem and
the 2000 Olympics is a perfect opportunity to achieve this.
The similarity of design to the Canadian flag also serves to show us as a sister country
in the British Commonwealth.
Enter the "8 Flag", shown at the top of this page. Will
it become the new flag? As this is not a design submitted to Ausflag, I seriously doubt it, but I am happy to have
made my statement. That situation is entirely because I became aware of the specifics of
Ausflag competitions after they stopped accepting designs from the general population.
Can the "winning design" (from the other contests) be drawn by a 9-year-old? See instructions below for this one.
Drawing the "8 Flag"
Draw a rectangle bounding a grid of 32 by 16 units (33 by 17 "dots").
Divide the rectangle into four equal vertical segments. Combine the inner two, so we
have three segments, A, B, and C, where B=A+C.
The outermost points of the star are three units away from the perimeter of segment B.
The rest of the star is better described by the image above.
I don't mind the orientation of the star or whether we have 7 points or 8 points. Aesthetically, having a point at the top centre - the 12-o'clock position - is better and retaining the current 7-pointed star serves that end.
Eight states (including NT) = 8-pointed star.
Eureka Flag uses an 8-pointed star.
The grid is based on multiples of eight units.
The number 8 is considered lucky by many Australians.