This year’s Australian National Flag Day, on 3 September 2021, marks 120 years since the Australian National Flag was first officially flown in 1901 at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne – the site of Australia’s first Parliament.
Australian National Flag Day, proclaimed in 1996 as a national day, celebrates the first time the flag was flown on 3 September 1901. On that day Prime Minister Edmund Barton announced the winners of a competition to design a flag for Australia. A large flag, 5.5 metres by 11 metres, was flown over the dome of the Exhibition Building in Melbourne. At that time the flag was known as the Commonwealth blue ensign; later, the flag became known as the Australian National Flag.
The date of 3 September also marks Merchant Navy Day. It is an opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of thousands of Australia’s merchant mariners during wartime operations.