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.