The Flag of Australia

Australia is the sixth largest nation in the world. At one time it was composed of six British colonies, but in 1901, those colonies joined together to form one nation. It was at that time that the current flag, with a few small differences, was adopted. The flag of Australia has a royal blue background with the Union Jack, or flag of Great Britain, in the upper left quadrant. Beneath the Union Jack is a white 7-pointed star—which was a 6-pointed star in the original design. The seventh point to the star was added to represent all territories of Australia, while the original six represent the original six colonies. The additional point was added in 1908. On the right half of the flag are white stars in the formation of the Southern Cross, one of the most identifiable constellations in the southern hemisphere. The Southern Cross has been a symbol of Australia since the British first began to settle in the area. The four main stars of the Southern Cross stand for Australia’s moral virtues: justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude. Each star is labeled according to its position in the Southern Cross: Alpha crucis, beta crucis, gamma crucis, delta crucis, and epsilon crucis, the only 5-pointed star.