estimated resident population at June 2000 was just over 19 million, an
increase of 1.2% over the previous year. The slightly higher growth rate
in 1999-2000 was due to a 16% increase in net overseas migration over the
previous year (from 85,100 to 99,100 persons).
Population by Birthplace
Australian colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia on
1 January 1901, the Union Jack had been the official flag for 100 years
to the day. A new nation raised an urgent demand for a new emblem. An official
competition for a design was arranged, which attracted 32,823 entries.
Five of these, which contained almost identical designs, were placed equal
first. Apart from later changes in the magnitudes of the stars and the
number of points, they had produced the present Australian flag.
national flag is the only one to fly over a whole continent. The Federal
Government encourages the flying of the Australian national flag by all
Australians and is committed to retaining and promoting pride in the flag
and actively encourages all Australians to be aware of, and proud of, their
One of the
avenues used by the Government to achieve this aim is the Constituents’
Request Program, which is administered through the electorate offices of
Senators and Federal Members of Parliament. Under this program, certain
organisations and institutions, including schools and community organisations,
may obtain an Australian national flag free of charge to fly or display
as appropriate. In addition, any member of the public may obtain from a
Senator or local Federal Member of Parliament a publication called Australian
flags, which explains the history of the Australian national flag and gives
a detailed outline of flag protocol issues.
the Government took two other initiatives to promote the national flag.
To commemorate the first flying of the Australian national flag in 1901,
the Governor-General proclaimed 3 September of each year as Australian
National Flag Day. Also the Flags Amendment Act 1996 was passed by the
House of Representatives on 12 December 1996 to guarantee that all Australians
will be consulted before any changes to the design of the Australian national
flag are made. The Flags Amendment Act 1996 requires that any change to
the Australian national flag must be approved by the Australian electorate
and that the existing Australian national flag will always be amongst the
choices offered to the Australian people.
Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms
of arms to individuals, organisations, towns and States has its origins
as a mark of royal favour dating back to the Middle Ages. Arms consist
of objects arranged to distinguish the possessor by their particular kind,
order and association. The complex and stylised art of arranging
arms in systematic ways to express identity is known as heraldry and can
be traced back to the early Crusades.
is the central feature of a grant of arms. It contains certain distinguishing
marks which have had a long and close association with heraldry.
The term 'coat of arms' refers to the custom in the 11th to 15th centuries
of displaying the arms on a tunic or coat worn over armour. The crest,
placed originally on the helmet of a knight to identify him in battle,
was attached beneath a wreath originally of twisted silk in two colours.
These colours have since been regarded as the livery colours of the arms.
Both the crest and the supporters, which are on either side of the shield,
are accessories to the arms.
It is proper
that an authority performing the duties of government should bear the dignities
and traditional rights of its office; including the right to bear symbols
of its honour and authority. The Commonwealth Coat of Arms was granted
by the Sovereign and fulfils these traditional purposes. It is an
emblem signifying the national unity of Australia and serves as a sign
of identity and authority.
official Coat of Arms granted to the Commonwealth of Australia was made
by King Edward VII in a Royal Warrant of 7 May 1908. The Arms were
composed of a simple shield of white and blue enclosing a cross of Saint
George on which there were five six-pointed white stars, around the outside
of which were six small escutcheons, i.e., small shields. The shield
was supported by a kangaroo and an emu standing on a grassy mound.
Above the shield was the crest containing the seven-pointed gold star of
Federation on a wreath of white and blue. The motto 'Advance Australia'
was inscribed at the base.
of specific references to the States in the shield in the 1908 Arms led
to a number of alterations approved on the recommendation of the Commonwealth
Government by King George V in a Royal Warrant of 19 September 1912.
The new design included a shield with six parts each containing a representation
of the badge of a State. The positions and attitudes of the supporters
were also changed. The colours of the wreath of the crest were altered
to gold and blue. These are the 'livery' colours of the Arms.
Arms were accompanied by small branches of wattle, ornamental rests for
the supporters, and a scroll with the word 'Australia' - none of which
are actually mentioned in the 1912 Royal Warrant. The Arms must always
be reproduced correctly and where possible in colour. However, if colour
is not appropriate the Arms may be reproduced in stylised form as a line
drawing, e.g. in black and white, silver, gold or as a mould or bas-relief.
Use of the
of Arms is used by the Commonwealth to identify its authority and property.
The Arms belong to the Commonwealth and, in general, are for official use
Use of the
Arms by private persons and organisations is seldom permitted since it
is contrary to their essential meaning, may constitute a possible debasement
of the Arms and may give rise to indiscriminate use. The association
of the Arms with a trade, business, calling or profession is not normally
permitted. Sporting and competitive representatives sponsored by
their national controlling body may receive permission to wear the Coat
of Arms on their uniforms, with the name and date of the event shown immediately
beneath the Arms, when competing in officially recognised international
events. Private persons and organisations may display the Arms as
a decorative feature on particular national occasions, e.g. Coronations,
Royal Visits, and Jubilee celebrations, provided it is not a permanent
feature. Use of the Arms may be permitted on permanent souvenirs of a particular
event, e.g. the Royal Visit of 1988. Publishers of encyclopaedia
and reference, educational and heraldry books may be granted permission
in certain circumstances.
In no circumstances
should the Coat of Arms be used by private persons and organisations without
prior approval of the appropriate Commonwealth authorities.
of the Coat of Arms
of the 1912 Coat of Arms is of special significance, and each element,
for example the colours, crest, wreath and border, has a special significance.
of Arms consists of a shield composed of 'quarters' representing the six
States of the Commonwealth enclosed by an ermine border. The
quarters provide a place for each of the States on the shield. Devices
representing the six States are arranged in two rows on the shield.
From left to right in the top row are the devices of New South Wales, Victoria
and Queensland (Quarters 1, 2 and 3) and in the bottom row are the devices
of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania (Quarters 4, 5 and 6).
The ermine border signifies the federation of the States into the Commonwealth.
of the Arms is a seven-pointed gold star symbolic of national unity on
a gold and blue wreath, which is a traditional element represented as a
twisted ribbon or Torse of the two alternate colours gold and blue.
A star of six points was originally chosen to represent the six States
but a seventh point was added to represent the territories of the Commonwealth
before the design was finalised. This seven-pointed star is also
used on the Australian National Flag and is termed the Commonwealth Star.
the kangaroo and the emu, are two typical Australian creatures which were
also included in the 1908 Arms. Both are indigenous to Australia
and are regarded as suitable for heraldry, design and reproduction uses.
Each in turn has appeared at various times on postage stamps. Although
the Royal Warrant did not indicate a species of kangaroo, that depicted
on the original painting is assumed to be the Red Kangaroo (Megaleia rufa)
which is the widest distributed species on the continent. The emu
(Dromaius novaehollandiae) and the kangaroo, as typical Australian fauna,
further identify the Arms as being exclusively Australian.
the Arms are depicted with branches of wattle tied with ribbon, emblematic
of Australia, and with a scroll having the word 'Australia' at the base.
However, the wattle, the scroll and the brackets upon which the supporters
rest do not constitute part of the complete Armorial Achievement and are
not mentioned in the Royal Warrant.
of the Coat of Arms
Blazoning is the art of describing in words a coat of arms in heraldic
terms so that it can be reproduced accurately in any part of the world.
It allows for artistic licence in the way an heraldic painter illustrates
the items described. The broad meaning of the blazon, or official description
of the Arms, is as follows:
(representing New South Wales): Background silver, featuring the Cross
of St George containing an heraldic gold lion, walking to the wearer's
right (viewer's left), three paws on the ground, the right forepaw being
raised, the head turned so as to face the spectator and the tail curved
over the back, and on each arm of the cross an eight-pointed gold star.
(representing Victoria) : Background blue, containing five stars, one of
eight points, two of seven points, one of six points and one of five points
(the constellation of the Southern Cross) with an Imperial Crown in normal
colours placed above the first star.
(representing Queensland) : Background silver, containing a blue Maltese
Cross surmounted by an Imperial Crown in normal colours.
(representing South Australia)
gold, containing an Australian Piping Shrike perched on a twisted band
of green and red (the bird has its back to the viewer).
(representing Western Australia) : Background gold featuring a black swan
swimming to the wearer's left (viewer's right).
(representing Tasmania) : Background silver, featuring a red lion walking
to the wearer's right (viewer's left) three paws on the ground, the right
forepaw being raised, the head looking forward and the tail curved over
National Colours - Green and gold
proclaimed Australia’s national colours by the Governor-General on 19 April
1984. Prior to the proclamation Australia had no official colours. Three
colour combinations traditionally had claim to be Australia’s national
colours: red, white and blue; blue and gold; and green and gold. The colours
red, white and blue were featured in the first Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth
in 1908 and are the colours of the Australian national flag. The colours
blue and gold have heraldic significance as they are the colours of the
crest in the 1912 (present) Commonwealth Coat of Arms. The colours green
and gold gained wide popularity and acceptance as the traditional national
colours in Australian and international sporting events since before Federation
and have been associated with many great sporting achievements since.
National Floral Emblem
National Floral Emblem - The Golden Wattle.
wattle, Acacia pycnantha Benth, was proclaimed the official national floral
emblem in August 1988. The golden wattle is a spreading shrub or small
tree which grows in the understorey of open forest, woodland and in open
scrub in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian
on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Andrew Fisher, MP,
wattle was included as the decoration surrounding the Commonwealth Coat
of Arms and it has also been used in the design of Australian stamps and
many awards in the Australian honours system. On the recommendation of
the Government, on 23 June 1992 the Governor General proclaimed that 1
September in each year be observed as National Wattle Day. National Wattle
Day provides an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate our floral
heritage, particularly through the planting of an Acacia species suitable
for the area in which they live.
National Gemstone - The Opal
was proclaimed Australia’s national gemstone on 28 July 1993.
often referred to as the fire of the desert - a mesmerising display of
all the colours of the rainbow. In fact there is a wonderful Aboriginal
legend about the creation of the opal -that the rainbow fell to earth and
created the colours of the opal. Across the world the precious opal occurs
in very few locations because it requires a very special series of geographical
and climatic phenomena to coincide for opal to form. These special criteria
occurred in what is now the great desert regions of central Australia,
which produces 95% of the world’s precious opal.
Fair was composed by Glasgow-born Peter Dodds McCormick (1834?-1916), who
used the pen-name "Amicus", a Latin word meaning "friend".
National Anthem - Advance Australia Fair
Australia Fair was proclaimed as our national anthem after exhaustive surveys
of national opinion. In 1974 the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted
a national opinion poll of 60,000 and in 1977 a plebiscite for a national
song was conducted. On each occasion, Advance Australia Fair was the preferred
option, and it was in consideration of such support that Advance Australia
Fair was proclaimed as the national anthem by the Governor-General on 19
all let us rejoice,
For we are
young and free;
soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is
girt by sea;
Our land abounds
in nature’s gifts
rich and rare;
page, let every stage
strains then let us sing,
radiant Southern Cross
with hearts and hands;
To make this
Commonwealth of ours
all the lands;
who’ve come across the seas
plains to share;
let us all combine
strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair - Julie Anthony
Anthem Advance Australia Fair"
More info about
our Anthem here.