Victorian Flag

Victorian Flag

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History of the Flag of the State of Victoria

Victoria was the first Australian Colony to have its own flag.

In 1865, under the Colonial Naval Defence Act, passed by the Imperial Parliament, the Australian Colonies were empowered to provide, maintain and use vessels of war. A requirement therefore arose for each Colony to have its own distinctive flag.

A despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in December 1865, required that all colonial vessels of war wear a Blue Ensign with the Seal or Badge of the Colony in the fly and a Blue Pennant.

On 4th February, 1870, a proclamation by the Governor directed that the Badge of the Colony of Victoria be of the following design – “five white stars, representing the constellation of the Southern Cross.”

On 10th February, 1870, The Argus newspaper, reported the first flying of the Victorian flag:

‘An event of some importance in the history of the Colony – the inauguration of the flag which has been adopted as our national ensign – took place on board H.M.V.S. “Nelson” (Victoria’s first colonial warship) yesterday, and the inaugural ceremony was made the occasion of a very pleasant trip down the Bay...

The design of the Flag of the Colony of Victoria was revised by a proclamation issued on the 12th November, 1877 by His Excellency Sir George Ferguson-Bowen, K.C.M.G., Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Colony of Victoria and its dependencies – ‘I, the Governor of Victoria, do hereby direct that all vessels belonging to, or permanently in the service of the Government of Victoria, shall wear the Blue Ensign, having in the centre of the fly thereof the distinctive Badge of the Colony, viz – “five white stars, representing the constellation of the Southern Cross, surmounted by an Imperial Crown’.”

Following the accession of Edward VII the Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria, The Honourable Sir John Madden, K.C.M.G., informed the Secretary of State for the Colonies on 19th September, 1901, that henceforth in referring to Victoria, the word “State” would be used in place of the word “Colony”, and that in the design of the State Flag, the crown would take the form of the St. Edward’s Crown. (For discussion on the styles of Royal crowns see the leaflet on the Armorial Ensign.)

Since this date, the design of the State Flag has not been changed.

The State Flag

The Flag of the State of Victoria is based on the blue ensign. It consists of a blue background with the Union Flag occupying the upper quarter next to the staff. It is differenced in the fly, or the half of the flag furthest from the staff, by five white stars representing the Southern Cross surmounted by a representation of the St. Edward’s Crown.

The descriptions and positions of the crown and stars are detailed on the diagram above. I­­t should be noted that the stars do not have an identical number of points. The variation in the number of points represents their relative brilliance within the constellation.

Find information about flag protocols in our frequently asked questions.


Last updated on Monday, 04 July 2016