The Australian Flag is made up of 3 parts
1.) The Union Jack, in the top inner (hoist) corner.
2.) The Federal Star, the lower inner (hoist) corner.
3.) The Southern Cross on the outer edge (fly).
1.) THE UNION JACK
The Union Jack is the national flag of Great Britain. Each of England, Scotland and Ireland have their own Patron Saints, and the flag is made up of the different crosses which represent those saints.
( A patron Saint is the Saint that is looked upon as the extra-special protector of a country )
Find out some more about the Saints.
Here’s a start …
2.) THE FEDERAL STAR
A seven-pointed star located under the Union Jack : the points of this star represent the six states of Australia and the Territories of the Commonwealth.
The Federal Star has seven points; and in the Southern Cross the four larger stars have seven points and are equal in size and the small star has five points. In each star one of the points is at the top.
3.) THE SOUTHERN CROSS
On the fly, or outside edge of the flag are placed five stars representing the Southern Cross (Crux). The Southern Cross was adopted as the badge of the Commonwealth of Australia, as it can be seen from all parts of Australia.
1 – Alpha Crucis
2 – Beta Crucis
3 – Gamma Crucis
4 – Delta Crucis
5 – Epsilon Crucis
Crux “Southern Cross”
-Crux is the small constellation more commonly known as the Southern Cross for the shape made by the four brightest stars. The two bright stars near the Cross, known as the Pointers, are not part of this constellation but are part of the neighbouring constellation, Centaurus.
Centaurus was named after a strange creature, half man and half horse, which was part of Greek and Roman mythology. Alpha Centauri was worshipped by the Egyptians and temples were erected at Corinth and Delphi with special alignment to the rising of this star.
The Southern Cross (Crux) is the signpost of the southern hemisphere, representing as it does, the skies of the southern hemisphere, including Australia, one of the South Pacific nations on whose flag it is featured.
Located in the Southern sky, this distinctive constellation, looking rather like a diamond-shaped kite, is the most famous constellation in the southern hemisphere, and also the smallest. The long axis formed by Gamma Crucis and Alpha Crucis point to the celestial South Pole, making the Southern Cross a celestial navigation point.
The Southern Cross in Australian History
The Southern Cross features in the “fly” of the Australian flag, whose design is based on the English Blue Ensign. The Cross strongly places Australia geographically and has been associated with the continent since its earliest days.
It was first featured in colonial Australian history in December 1854 on the Victorian goldfields, when immigrant miners united together in revolt at the Eureka Stockade against petty officialdom and harassment by a corrupt Police force, who would often ask miners to show their gold digging licences several times a day.
Some 1500 miners protested together at the Eureka Stockade under the leadership of Irishman Peter Lalor. In the early hours of the following morning, when only 120 of the previous night’s volunteers were still present at the stockade, the English Queen’s soldiers and police troopers attacked and 22 diggers were killed, more than 100 were imprisoned and the bullet-ridden Eureka flag was torn down and dragged through the dust. Henry Lawson later wrote “20 minutes freed Australia at Eureka long ago” and American writer Mark Twain, described this lost struggle against tyranny as “another instance of a victory won by a lost battle”.
The Eureka Flag is thought to have been designed by a Canadian digger called Lieutenant Ross (who died defending during the Eureka Stockade defence). According to Frank Cayley’s book Flag of Stars the flag’s five stars represent the Southern Cross and the white cross joining the stars represents unity in defiance. The blue background is believed to represent the blue shirts worn by many of the diggers, rather than represent the sky as is commonly thought.
The Union Jack and the right way to fly it, page 65-68 in
Lord Baden-Powell (1952)
“The Wolf Cub’s Handbook” 12 Edn.
The Boy Scout Association, London.
Flags and Coutries, page 101-103 in
Rogers, O.J. (Ed.) (1977)
“The Cub Book” 2 Edn.
The Scout Association of New Zealand.