A Splendid British Empire Australian Red Ensign Flag Mounted on a Pole


Origin: British
Period: Early-Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1908-25
Pole Length: 50.5 inches
Height: 17 inches
Width: 33 inches

The printed soft cotton Australian Red Ensign flag showing the Union Flag in the upper canton and constellation of stars to the red field, the whole showing a superb consistent gentle fade across the fabric, mounted on a long smooth wooden pole surmounted by a painted silver finial, survives from the first quarter of the twentieth century.

There is some light fraying to the edges of the fabric and one small area of sun light fade to one end with one end of the red ground more grubby than the other but generally the flag and the pole are in good condition. The cotton could of course be ironed and hand washed if so desired.

During the time of the British Empire the dominions, many of the colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories carried their own flags, mostly under the blue ensign although some territories and colonies did also use red ensigns for their flags. The Australian Red Ensign resulted from the 1901 Commonwealth Government Federal Flag Design Competition which required two entries: a flag for official use by the Commonwealth Government and one for the use of State and local governments, mercantile marine, private organisations and individuals . The winning design was based on the traditional British Red Ensign and featured the Southern Cross and Commonwealth Star. From 1901 to 1954 the Red Ensign was used as a civil flag by State and local governments, private organisations and individuals.

One of three Australian ensigns of this vintage we have on offer, and once they are gone they are gone.