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. 


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