Alternative designs for an Australian flag
Over the years, many proposals for a new Australian flag have been put forward. Some advocates for changing the flag have also proposed the Eureka flag (which actually predates Federation, having been first flown in 1854). In addition to the Eureka flag, several other popular designs are shown below:
The Eureka flag, 1854
All Australian Flag, by Athol Kelly, 1979
Sam Neil's design, 1997
Southern Cross and Boomerang, Fred Rieben, 2004
An Ausflag proposal from 2013
The Eureka flag is a popular alternative Australian flag, and is one of Australia's oldest national symbols - having been the flag used by gold miners rebelling against British colonial authority in Ballarat, Victoria. The miners were objecting to the expense of the miner's license, and taxation on miners without representation, being enforced by the colonial government.
While it is a proud and enduring symbol with historical significance to Australia, there are several good reasons why it has not become Australia's national flag:
- It doesn't include the Southern Cross in its most recognisable (and popular) form
- It doesn't include the national colours, Green & Gold
- It is too strongly associated with the Union movement
- While a popular symbol in Victoria, particularly Ballarat, it doesn't have much support elsewhere in Australia
As for the other flags, criticisms include:
- Athol Kelly's design has merit, because it combines one of Australia's most recognised national symbols, the Southern Cross in white on dark blue, with the national colours. Many people however would argue that fauna (e.g. a kangaroo) do not belong on national flags (there are very few national flags in the world that feature animals).
- Sam Neil's design is too much of a compromise (it replaces the Union Jack with the Indigenous flag). One of the problems with Australia's current flag is that by placing the British flag in the top-left (the Canton), it suggests predominance of the British. Simply replacing the Union Jack with another flag doesn't seem to alleviate that problem. Some would also say that having black and dark blue together on a flag is not aesthetically appealing.
Fred Rieben's Southern Cross and Boomerang is one of a large number of proposals which incorporate indigenous elements, along with the Southern Cross. The red dots, suggestive of indigenous art, break one of the key rules of good flag design, which is that a flag design should be very simple and easy to reproduce (usually by consisting of just purely geometric shapes). Paintings (including finger painting) make great art, but generally don't make good flags.
Ausflag's proposal keeps it simple, which is good, but is also pretty uninspiring.
For a more comprehensive list of proposed alternatives for an Australian flag, visit this Wikipedia page
Ausflag's website also provides a good summary of alternative Australian flags.
Read about the history of Australian flags