Search the Collection
Advanced Search

Silk Australian Ensign

Date: 1876
840 x 1220 mm
Medium: Silk
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Visual communication
Object Name: Flag
Object No: 00003068

User Terms

    This silk flag features the Australian Ensign and was hand sewn by Bessy Maria Deloitte (1817-1887) from the prominent Birchgrove family associated with sailing and the founding of the Sydney Rowing Club.

    The design incorporates a large blue cross with five white stars and the Union Jack in the corner. It was awarded as a prize for the winner of the 1876 Balmain Regatta and presented to Alfred G Milson.

    This flag was adopted by the Australian Federation League and used widely through the 1890s. It was taken up by the Commonwealth Inauguration Ceremonies and became known as the Federation flag.

    SignificanceThis flag is representative of flags used in Australia at the end of the 19th century. This hand made version predates the flags popular usage during the mid-1880s by almost fifteen years.
    HistoryThe Federation Flag popularly emerged during the 1880s and was an attempt to use a single flag to represent the colonies of Australia. It was designed from an earlier Australian ensign flag used in the 1830s and used mainly throughout New South Wales and Queensland.

    As Australia had no official flag at the time of Federation in 1901 the Federation Flag became the unofficial and popularly used flag of the general public. The former Prime Minister Edmund Barton submitted it as the 2nd design concept for the commission of an Australian flag but it was not chosen because it did not align with British flag styles. In an unofficial capacity the Federation Flag continued to be used up until the end of World War I.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Silk Australian ensign

    Web title: Silk Australian Ensign

    Related People

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.