Nationwide hunt for the very first Australian
January 24, 2017
A nationwide search is underway for one of the most
important pieces of Australian history – the original Australian Flag unveiled
at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne in 1901.
Australian National Flag Association has launched the search
in the leadup to Australia Day, saying it was time the first Australian Flag was
located and preserved.
Flag Association President Allan Pidgeon said the original
flag was reportedly given to a museum following its unveiling, but there are no
records of which museum or where the flag may have been taken.
“It’s entirely possible that this precious piece of
Australian history is in a community hall or museum, or possibly even in a
private home, without anyone realising its significance,” Mr Pidgeon said.
“The Australian National Flag Association is asking all
Australians to look closely at any old national flag they may have in their
care, and to get in touch with us if they think it could be the very first
“The flag was first flown on the 3rd of September
in 1901, following a nationwide competition which attracted entries from around
one per cent of the population.
“That would equate to around 240,000 entries in today’s
Australia,” Mr Pidgeon said.
“Now, it’s time for a fresh national effort – not to design
a new flag, but to find that flag that flew from the top of the Melbourne
Exhibition Building that day.”
The winning design was unveiled by the wife of Australia’s
first Governor General, the Countess of Hopetoun, in a ceremony reported in the
Hopetoun entered, a huge Blue Ensign with the prize design of the Southern
Cross and a six-pointed star thereon was run up to the top of the flagstaff on
the dome and, breaking, streamed out on the heavy south-westerly breeze, a
brave and inspiring picture.
Mr Pidgeon said the six-pointed Commonwealth star mentioned
in the media report, which represented the original states, gained an extra
point in 1908; with the seventh point representing the territories.
“This will be one of the first clues to identifying the
original Australian Flag. Also, we are
looking for a big flag - based on reports at the time, we believe that the
first flag was about 11 metres by 5.5 metres in size.
“We invite anyone who might have an idea about what happened
to the flag to contact us via
,” Mr Pidgeon
Although more than 115 years have passed since the flag’s
last known sighting, Mr Pidgeon said ANFA was optimistic about the chances of
locating the original.
“Just last year, the flag that had been draped across the
grave of Breaker Morant in 1902 was found on a rubbish tip outside Tenterfield.
“So there’s every chance that the original Australian flag
is also sitting unnoticed somewhere. If
so, it’s time to find it and give it the recognition and respect it deserves.
“We hope that there might be someone whose ancestor ended up
with custody of the flag, or who has found a flag that looks significant, so
that we can locate the historic first Australian flag and put it on public
Anyone with information about the first Australian flag is
invited to contact the Australian Flag Association on
details at www.australianflag.net.au.
Media contact: SAS Media and Communications – 0467 792 013