The Aussies are a patriotic bunch, just like us South Africans, especially when us South Africans are playing the Aussies at rugby or cricket.
But aside from their sporting fervour – and yes, they do sometimes win – you’ll also find evidence of Aussie pride in the star-studded banners that flutter from official buildings, add a homely touch to shop window displays, or crown the thresholds of countless abodes.
But here and there, you’ll also find a flag of a different colour, flying shoulder to shoulder with the six-starred Aussie standard. This flag boasts only one star: the yellow orb of the sun, set against a backdrop of two equally-sized horizontal bars of black and red.
It’s the flag of Australia’s Aboriginal people, designed in 1971 as a banner of land rights activism, and recognised since as one of the official “Flags of Australia”, which means it can be flown from public buildings and on occasions of state.
It’s a simple, earthy flag, rooted in the land itself, whereas the Australian national flag looks to the skies and to a land beyond the oceans.
National flags don’t have to follow the rules of good graphic design – in fact, they tend to proudly flout them – but the Aussie flag looks particularly busy and difficult for a small child or a not-very-good-at-art adult to draw.
There’s an entire celestial constellation on there, as well as a seven-pointed Commonwealth Star, and of course there’s the Union Jack of the United Kingdom in the upper left corner. (Whenever I see the Aussie flag, I think, hey, that’s our Southern Cross too, but it’s okay, the Aussies fairly and squarely beat us to it.)
Anyway, this is what the Australian flag would look like if they ever decided to cut and paste the Aboriginal flag into the upper left quadrant.
There’s pretty much no chance of that happening any time soon, but you have to admit, it would be a great-looking flag nonetheless.
Maybe even, at a push, the second-greatest redesigned national flag in the whole entire Southern hemisphere.
Sent from my iPhone