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Bowman Flag (Australia)

Last modified: 2016-02-27 by ian macdonald
Keywords: australia | bowman flag | rose | shamrock | thistle | kangaroo | emu |
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[Bowman Flag][Flag no longer in use]
Image from Flags of Australia chart [vau83], contributed by Jaume Ollé, 28 August 2001

See also:

Explanation of the flag

The Bowman flag is located at the State Library of New South Wales (Mitchell Library). I don't believe it is on permanent display anymore, though it was in a display of historical artifacts during 1997.

The flag is believed to be the first designed in Australia and was made of silk from a wedding dress. The flag features a fanciful coat of arms of the rose, shamrock and thistle supported by a kangaroo and emu with a motto of England Expects Every Man Will Do His Duty. The flag was created to celebrate the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Ralph Kelly, 12 January 1999

The chart Flags of Australia [vau83], explains:

It was flown by John and Honor Bowman at their farm "Archerfield", near Richmond, NSW, in 1806. The Bowman family were celebrating the victory of the royal Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar (21-10-1805). This is believed to be the first flag designed in Australia and it set the precedent for the use of emu and kangaroo on our national coat of arms, The English rose, Scottish thistle and Irish shamrock indicate the origins and unity of the early settlers. The words beneath the shield were taken from a famous flag signal raised during the battle. The Bowman flag is on display at the Mitchell Library, Sydney NSW.
Jaume Ollé, 27 August 2001