Frequently Asked Questions
- Allow it to fly free without touching obstructions, foliage, structures, as to do so will shorten its life.
- Do not pack it away wet.
- Bring it in in stormy weather, excessive winds.
- Launder or dry clean it when soiled by atmospheric fallout.
- Return to us to trim and re-hem when wear starts.
Many variables influence longevity: the most significant are the material used to make the flag, the amount of wind it is subjected to, height of pole, whether the flag is repaired when wear starts, and exposure to wear, e.g. whether flown permanently. When using proper flag bunting and flying permanently, flags flying at great height, e.g. Sydney Harbour Bridge where they are streaming out all the time, can be worn out in weeks. A domestic sized flag at a beach front site might last a year in the prevailing sea breezes. The same size flag in the suburbs will probably fade before it wears out a couple of years later. So common sense applies. There are no strict rules for flag life, only tips on care.
Most enquiries we receive fall into the following sub-sections. But if you require other or more detailed information, the handy paperback book published by the Australian Government titled Australian Flags is available free from your local Federal Member of Parliament. There are a number of these free paperbacks in the series but only Australian Flags deals with this subject. If it’s not available when you call, they can get it in for you. Insist upon it!
Raising and lowering. The Australian flag should be raised smartly and lowered ceremonially. When other flags are present, it should be hoisted first and lowered last. It should not be allowed to touch or lie on the ground. It should be treated with respect and dignity, be replaced when worn and disposed of reverently. If flown at night it should be illuminated.
When flown with other flags. The Australian flag must always take the position of honour, that is, generally speaking, above or on the left when viewed from outside. The book Australian Flags gives excellent details of the many possible combinations, summarised here for pole groupings:
When there are two poles; flown on the left.
When three poles; in the centre.
If of uneven height; on the tallest.
When four poles, on the left or each end.
When crossed staves; on left and staff in front.
With state or club flags; on the left.
On a cross arm pole; at the top when two others.
On the cross arm; at left if one other is flying.
1st January: Anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia.
26th January: Australia Day.
March, 2nd Monday: Commonwealth Day.
23rd April: Anzac Day.
9th May: ACT only. Anniversary of inauguration of Canberra as the seat of government.
June, 2nd Monday: Queen’s Birthday except WA (in October).
3rd September: Australian National Flag Day.
24th October: UN Day.
11th November: Remembrance Day.
Half Mast. There are two acceptable positions: (1) Lower the flag equivalent to its height, leaving room for the invisible “flag of death” above it, and (2) lower it one third the height of the pole. When half masting, the flag should be raised to the peak before being lowered to its half mast position. When lowering from the half mast position, raise it to the peak before lowering it. All operations should be done with dignity and reverence.
There are no “Flag Police” in Australia where we tend to take a casual attitude towards protocol and etiquette. It is pretty much up to the individual to display good manners, and while one is seldom condemned for disobeying the rules, to do so does not enhance one’s image in the eyes of those who know the difference.
A flag flying on a flagpole which is off vertical will wrap itself around the pole and defiantly refuse to unwrap itself! Very annoying! The trick is to build in a stiffener along the top edge of the flag and keeping this edge at right angles to the pole.
This can be achieved by using a Flags of All Nations Anti-Furl Device as shown in the Data Sheet.
Pictured are several examples of the Anti-Furl Device at two of Brisbane’s premier hotels. If you have this wrapping problem, best talk to us to assess the solution and what we can do to help.
Here are some good examples of ‘Anti-Furl’
We prefer Adobe Illustrator, .eps or .ai, but if you do not have this, we can work with whatever files you send.
Yes, but first, may we ask you, is this necessary? Flags commonly present as a mirror image on the reverse side, i.e. as seen when the flag is flying to the left of the pole. Some military flags have to have insignia “reading correctly” on both sides of the flag, for obvious reasons. And some logos don’t make sense when shown as a mirror image. But the human brain is a marvellous instrument and makes sense of “backward facing” images such as text. (Test this out for yourself: next time you see a flag with text on it and it is flying to the left of the pole, the text is reading backwards and you will understand it, trust me! Of course if the text is small it will probably be illegible on a moving flag whether it is reading either way! So it doesn’t matter if small text is mirrored on the reverse side.
But the answer is yes, we can make a double sided flag, and we will make it as light as possible so that it will lift in a light breeze using one of a number of techniques we have developed over the years. Send us your image and we will discuss it with you to achieve the best possible outcome
The traditional relationship of flag size to the height it flies is one yard of flag (horizontal dimension) to every 3m of pole
|Flag Dimensions||Pole Height|
|1||36 x 18||915 x 458||–||–|
|1.5||54 x 27||1370 x 685||15||4.5|
|2||72 x 36||1830 x 915||20||6|
|2.5||90 x 45||2280 x 1140||25||7.5|
|3||108 x 54||2740 x 1370||30||9|
|4||144 x 72||3660 x 1830||40||12|
|5||180 x 90||4560 x 2280||50||15|
|6||216 x 108||5480 x 2740||60||18|
|7||252 x 126||6400 x 3200||70||21|
|8||288 x 144||7320 x 3660||80||24|
Note: The most common flag display is a flag 1830 x 915 (2 yard) on a 6m flagpole. To “Make a statement” it is usual to choose a flag the next size up, but to go larger
there is a risk of being ostentatious. To go smaller, the flag will look disappointingly small when raised.
Flags of All Nations makes flags of any size and poles of any height.
In Australia it is common for all foreign national flags to be made to the same 2 : 1 proportions as the Australian flag, so that when flown in a line of flags they all look the same size, giving rise to the term “Made to Australian Standard”! However there is often a need for a foreign national to be made to its official proportions. Flags of All Nations makes flags to any size or proportion, and if one of official proportions is destined to fly beside the Australian flag, we can make it to the same AREA so that it will look the same size and therefore not breach flag etiquette.
History of the Australian Flag
1 January 1901 The six colonies united to form the Commonwealth of Australia. The Australian Government announced a competition to design two flags, one for official use, one for merchant ships.
3 September 1901 Five almost identical designs out of 30,000 entries were chosen, and a large flag of that design was flown above the Exhibition Building in Melbourne.
February 1903 The four main stars of the Southern Cross, formerly with different numbers of points, changed to seven points.
December 1908 The original six pointed star representing the six states was changed to include the territories — Papua alone then, and any future territories.
15 March 1941 Prime Minister Menzies issued a press statement recommending the flying of the blue ensign as a national emblem on public buildings and schools.
24 February 1947 Prime Minister Chifley expressed support for a wider use of the blue ensign. (Until now the Union Jack of the UK was also regarded as the flag of Australia.)
1951 King George VI endorsed the government’s recommendations to use the blue ensign as the Australian national flag.
December 1953 The Flags Act was passed by the Australian Parliament proclaiming the Australian blue ensign as the national flag, and the Australian red ensign for merchant ships registered in Australia.
14 February 1954 The Flags Act was signed into law by Queen Elizabeth II when she opened parliament.
24 March 1998 The Flag Amendment Act amended the Flags Act ensuring that the Australian national flag can only be changed with the agreement of the Australian electorate.
The above data was taken from the handbook Australian Flags published by the Australian Government and available free from your local Federal Member.