1901, Jan 1st

1901, Apr

Federation – formation of the Commonwealth of Australia

The Commonwealth Government announces a Federal Flag design competition. The competition receives 32,823 entries with the winning design being won by five almost identical entries.

1901, Sep 3rd 

Prime Minister Sir Edmund Barton raises the large blue national flag, measuring 11 x 5.5 meters over the first Parliament House, Melbourne Exhibition Centre

The original flag was slightly different to its present-day form (which started in 1908), in that each star on the original flag had a unique number of points.

The red ensign is designated the flag of the Merchant Navy at the same time.

1903, Feb

King Edward VII officially approves the Australian Flag (blue ensign) and Red Ensign for Merchant Navy shipping. The stars of the Southern Cross are standardised, with the 4 large stars each 7 points and the smaller star remaining at 5 points.


The Commonwealth star is changed from 6 to 7 points, with 6 points representing the states, and the 7th point representing all territories, becoming the flag as we know it today.

1914, Aug


1934, Mar

The flag is used for the first time in war (WW1) when flown over Queenscliff Fort, Victoria. The fort opened fire to prevent the German steamer, Pfalz, from leaving port. It was the first shot fired in the Great War.

Commonwealth Government Gazette features a line drawing of the exact specifications of the Australian flag and the Red Ensign.

1953, Dec 

Flag Act: The Blue Ensign is confirmed by legislation as the chief national symbol by law, custom and tradition and its official title becomes the “Australian National Flag”

1996, Aug

The Governor-General, Sir William Deane, proclaims 3rd September annually as “Australian National Flag Day”