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One may have expected that the people of Brisbane who struggled for years before obtaining separation from New South Wales on 10 December, 1859 might have nurtured a fellow concern for their Northern counterparts but history has proven this not to be the case.
John Dunmore Lang in 1852 in his book, "Freedom and Independence for the Golden Lands of Australia", proposed three new Northern Colonies. Agitation for separation continued to intensify to the end of the 19th century until 1887 the North Queensland Separation League sent a delegation to England to submit a case for separation to the Secretary of State, Sir Henry Holland. In following years many memorials praying for separation were presented to Parliament by representatives of both Northern and Central Queensland, and in 1892 the Central Queensland Separation League followed the example of the Northerners by sending a delegation to London.
A separate Northern State should have become reality in 1897 when William Kidstone MLA (Rockhampton) proposal was passed on the Speaker's casting vote after a twenty for and twenty against split. Victory was within the grasp of the people at last but on the following day a number of absent members of the Assembly advised Sir Hugh Nelson in writing that the resolution was carried "in a very thin house" after a late night sitting. They recorded their dissent even though they had been absent from the house. The fact that Separation did not eventuate from that historic moment proved Archibald Archer's MLA (Rockhampton) warning that Forces of vast power who no doubt knew which side their bread was buttered would oppose separation.
In 1948 another New State Movement was inaugurated in North Queensland, following which the governor's speech at the opening of the Queensland Parliament in August 1948 contained the suggestion that new States might be formed in Queensland when they had a reasonable degree of economic stability. That prerequisite has not been an issue for decades!
The North Queensland Movement received additional impetus following a
representative popular convention held at Mareeba in August 1955 when the "
New State for North Queensland Movement" was officially launched. Agitation
for a North Queensland State has persisted throughout the 1970's and 80's
with continued demands for a referendum. The driving force at this time was
the North Queensland Self-Government League which had the aim of having "a
separate self-governing sovereign state by 1988". In 1994 the North
Queensland Party was formed with Frank Rossiter of Townsville as a leading
figure. The new North Queensland flag was proposed and approved at a meeting
on the 16 October, 1994. In attendance were Frank Rossiter, Max Keating,
Alex Caldwell and other leading figures supporting a separate state. The
blue and white North Queensland State Flag consisted of the Southern Cross
and Tropical Sun with Marlin.
Edward Cattoni, 13 August 2003
An earlier North Queensland flag included the
Union Jack and the yellow sun with the letters NQ within it.
Edward Cattoni, 13 August 2003
An old page from the
www.newstates.net site, archived here, mentions a North Queensland separation flag designed by
"Sydney Vexicologist John Vaugn" (Sydney vexillographer/vexillologist
John Vaughan), which is of the British blue ensign model, with a large
yellow sun in the fly. I assume this is the flag referred to by Ed Cattoni, although there is no lettering on the flag.
Jonathan Dixon, 6 December 2005
A photo of a British blue ensign has been forwarded to me. The size and shape of the badge would indicate that it is of modern
design and unofficial. The [light blue] N and crescent in the centre of the [yellow] sun-burst image may be an N overlapping and partially obscuring a Q. There are small lines at the base of the crescent consistent with a
capital Q. NQ would stand for North Queensland.
Ralph Kelly, 12 December 2008
by Edward Cattoni, 13 August 2003
I am the designer of the proposed North Queensland State flag, which contains:
www.newstates.net proposes a new state in North Queensland named Capricornia. Their old page on this proposal, archived here, depicts a flag with at the hoist a triangular section of the
Union Jack, with a field divided horizontally into three stripes of pastel
blue, green and ochre, with thick white fimbriations. A southern cross
with stars arranged similarly to the Australian national flag is
superimposed on the stripes in the fly. The website said:
In seeking a, range of flags for the New State movements, this website assumes that initially the bulk (though not all) of the support for New States will be concentrated at the conservative end of the political spectrum. Any new flags must appeal to them while minimising any offence to other more radical supporters.
All four proposed New State house-flags have a stylised "Union Pennant" on the hoist.
While the pennant is clearly derived from the British Union Flag, it no longer takes up all of the Canton (first quarter of prominence), it is slightly reduced, (from a full quarter to about a fifth), and could no longer be described as a British Ensign of any sort. Its pointed shape can be seen as to represent and acknowledge a British Heritage yet points towards an independent future as evidenced by the now dominant remainder of the flag.
The coloured bands represent the three great climatic regions of the proposed new state. Blue for the reef and coastal region, green for forests and croplands and ochre for the arid interior. (Alternatively, the three bands represent the three regions of Cairns and the far North, Townsville and Rockhampton with their hinterlands. White bands represent the two great penetrating rail links). Pastel colours identify this as a tropical flag.
The Southern Cross both lifts the design and ties this into the Australian family of flags.
Jonathan Dixon, 6 December 2005