Last modified: 2015-06-27 by ian macdonald
Keywords: australia | army flag | stars: southern cross | southern cross | crown | lion | sun: rising | swords: crossed |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
The Australian Army does not have a flag. The Army is, however, the protector of the Australian National Flag.
David Cohen, 11 November 1997
I saw a letter from an Australian Army unit in an exhibition recently, and it seems the Australian Army's badge is similar to the British one, but with a royal crown above a leaping kangaroo over the crossed swords, rather than a Royal Crest. So does the Australian Army use this badge on a red field like the British Army's flag?
Roy Stilling, 12 September 1997
I had a reply this week from the Australian Army's Ceremonial and Protocol office, who says:
'The Army's badge is the General Service badge (the 'Rising Sun'), but the badge you are referring to is the Australian Army emblem (a kangaroo ensigned with the crown and backed by crossed swords). It is only used by Land Command units; however, brigades within the Command use a badge of crossed swords behind the formation's number, below which is a boomerang (bearing the word 'BRIGADE') and above, the Crown (eg. 3rd Brigade's formation badge is the Arabic number 3 above a boomerang, backed by crossed swords, the whole ensigned with the crown).'
My enquiry also asked about Flag Stations. The Army says:
There are no special regulations for flag stations other than they are required to fly a large (3.6 x 1.8m) Australian National Flag on: Sundays, Australia Day, the anniversary of the Queen's accession to the Throne (6 Feb.), ANZAC Day, the anniversary of the Queen's coronation (2 June), official birthday of the Queen (as directed by Army HQ), the Queen Mother's birthday (4 Aug), Australian National Flag Day (3rd Sept), when an artillery salute is fired at a flag station, when directed by the Governor-General, on other occasions as ordered by Army HQ.
David Cohen, 11 November 1997
image by Miles Li, 7 Oct 2005
Here is the current version of the Australia's Chief of Army Flag. It
replaces the old Chief of General Staff flag featuring the British
lion-and-crown crest (see below). Note the badge on the new
flag - the Army "rising sun" and the crossed swords - is the badge of
the Chief of Army.
Miles Li, 7 October 2005
According to Malcolm Farrow's Colours of the Fleet [frr94],
“Chief of the General Staff (Australia). Authorised 1/10/1992.David Prothero, 1 October 2005
In 1992 the defacing badge of CGS(Australia) was changed from the traditional British Army crown and lion device in favour of the Australian Army General Service badge.”
The RAAF Manual of Ceremonial, AAP 5135.002, which is downloadable at this Air Cadet Corps site, states that this flag is a car flag only.
Joe McMillan, 22 November 2003
I believe it is also flown in front of the Department of Defence in
Miles Li, 22 November 2003
image by Miles Li, crest by Martin Grieve, 21 Feb 2005
The Chief of Army (formerly Chief of General Staff) flag is the Australian National Flag
with the Royal Crest (crowned lion standing on crown) in full colours at the
centre of the lower half of the flag.
Miles Li, 27 February 2002
I have found three Commander-in-Chief Australian Military Forces flags. They
1942-1945 Chief of Army personal flag
1990-2001 Chief of General Staff personal flag and car flag
2001 Chief of Army personal flag and car flag
The 1942 flag featured a Rising Sun Badge in the lower centre, and was created for GEN Sir Thomas Blamey. Use of the flag appears to have ceased with GEN Blamey's retirement in 1945. A colour view of this flag can be found in the gallery of the Australian National Flag Association website. This Rising Sun badge is of an earlier pattern to the current Chief of Army personal flag. The easiest way to tell them apart is that the 1942-1945 flag's badge has no sabres.
The 1990 flag was approved on 22/05/1990 by Defence Instruction (General) ADMIN 12-1 Amendment List 14. Dimensions were 900 mm x 1800 mm, car flag 150 mm x 230 mm. The flag shown above with the Royal Crest appears to be the car-flag version.
The 2001 flag was approved on 24/08/2001 by Defence Instruction (General) ADMIN 12-1 Amendment List 20. Dimensions of this and the car-flag are as above, the Rising Sun Badge being a different pattern to the 1942 version.
The Army's website that contained these details crashed several months ago and has not been reinstated. I obtained these details by contacting the Army directly. Please note that the quoted date according to Farrow for one of these flags is 01/10/1992 does not tally with these details.
The existence of these personal flags appears to be linked to those times when the Army is headed by one person rather than a general staff. That of course is the current situation.
Jeff Thomson, 27 April 2012
image by Joe McMillan, 12 Feb 2005 | 4:5
image by Joe McMillan, 12 Feb 2005 |
Earlier today (March 10) a ceremony was held in Canberra to mark to centenary of the Australian army. The colours, guidons and banners of every unit of the Army took part - the first time since the Queen's silver jubilee almost 25 years ago. The highlight of the day was the presentation of a banner to the Army by the Governor-General. The banner is scarlet, with gold fringes, cords and tassels. The obverse of the banner bears the coat-of-arms of Australia. The reverse bears the 'rising sun' badge of the Australian Army, flanked by several battle honours commemorating every major conflict the Army has involved in for the last 100 years (example: World War I). This was the first time a ceremonial banner truly representive of the Army as a whole was presented to the Army.
Miles Li, 10 March 2001
I would guess that it's just a one-off ceremonial item, not intended to replace any of the forces' flags, or the tri-service flag.
David Cohen, 10 March 2001
This flag is officially simply called the Army Banner, and several photos of it (obverse only, showing the coat-of-arms, not the
reverse with the 'rising sun' badge) can be found in the photo gallery of
the official Australian Army website
Miles Li, 7 May 2001
The flag is obviously in the standard British colour size of 36 x 45 inches, crimson with the Australian arms in color on the obverse and the dates "1901-2001" in gold in the upper hoist. The reverse shows the army badge--a sunburst behind a red disk bearing the royal crown--and seven campaign honors on small gold-edged scrolls: South Africa, World War I, World War II, Korea, Malaya-Borneo, South Vietnam, and Peacekeeping. The flag is trimmed with gold fringe, has gold and crimson cords and tassels, and is mounted on a pike with the usual British royal crest finial.
Joe McMillan, 12 Feb 2005
The Times (London) has in today's edition (Saturday 24 May 2003) a photo of an Australian soldier in Iraq during a ceremony in Baghdad to mark the re-opening of the Australian diplomatic mission.
The flag on his shoulder is a very light shade of blue:
Andrę Coutanche, 24 May 2003
Several people suggested possible reasons. Christopher Southworth and Miles Li point out that it is probably deliberate, since using the blue in the union jack is normal dark blue, so it is not due to fading, and using two shades of blue would be more expensive. Ralph Kelly suggests that the lighter shade of blue is for camouflage reasons, and Christopher Southworth confirms that the lighter blue seems to be less visible against sand. However, Joe McMillan asks why, if that were the reason, do the colours in the canton have their normal shades? Al Kirsch wonders whether it may be an Air Force Ensign, with the roundel missing possibly because the patch is too small.
FOTW Discussion, 26 May 2003