About Australia
 
 
 
National Flag

When the Australian colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901, there was an urgent demand for a new national flag as an emblem for the new country. An official competition for a design was arranged, which attracted 32,823 entries. Five of these contained almost identical designs and were placed equal first. Apart from later changes in the size of the stars and the number of points, they had produced the present Australian National Flag.

The Australian National Flag consists of three parts set on a blue field. The first part is the Union Jack, acknowledging the historical link with Britain. The second part is the Southern Cross (a constellation of stars only visible in the Southern Hemisphere), representing Australia's geographical location in the world. Finally, the Commonwealth Star represents Australia's federal system of government. Originally, the Commonwealth Star had six points (for the six states), but in 1908 a seventh point was added to represent the Territories of the Commonwealth of Australia.

State and Territory Flags
 

 
National Emblem

The Commonwealth Coat of Arms is the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia and its ownership and authority. King Edward VII made the first official grant of a coat of arms to the Commonwealth of Australia in a Royal Warrant dated 7 May 1908. The absence 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. King George V granted the second Commonwealth Coat of Arms in a Royal Warrant dated 19 September 1912.

Symbols of Australia's six states appear together on the shield, which is the central feature of a coat of arms. The border of the shield symbolises federation. The kangaroo and emu are the native animals that hold the shield with pride. A gold Commonwealth Star sits above the shield. Six of the star's points represent the Australian states. The seventh point represents the territories. A wreath of gold and blue sits under the Commonwealth Star. Gold and blue are the Commonwealth Coat of Arms' livery or identifying colours. Australia's floral emblem, the golden wattle, frames the shield and supporters. A scroll contains the word ‘Australia'.
 
 
 
 
National Symbols
 
National Flag
National Emblem
National Anthem
National Animal
National Bird
National Flower
National Colours
National Gemstone
Currency Symbol



National Symbol introduces to the national identity elements of Australia. These symbols are intrinsic to the australian identity and heritage. Australians of all demographics backgrounds across the world are proud of these national symbols as they infuse a sense of pride and patriotism in every Australian's heart.

 
 



 
National Anthem

"Advance Australia Fair" was one of many Australian nationalistic songs. It was written by Peter Dodds McCormick, who arrived in Sydney in 1855 from Scotland. He was also the composer of the song and it was first performed by Andrew Fairfax at the St Andrew's Day concert in Sydney on November 30, 1878, although not the National Anthem at that time. The most significant early performance of Advance Australia Fair was at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia in January 1. 1901, where it was sung by a choir of 10,000. Advance Australia Fair was not considered the national anthem, however, with this role going to the British anthem God Save the Queen [or King] for most of the twentieth century.

A determined search for a truly Australian national anthem did not begin in earnest until the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956. On April 19, 1984 the government announced that the tune of Advance Australia Fair together with modifications to two verses of the lyrics would become the Australian National Anthem.

Australian National Anthem
"Advance Australia Fair"
words and music composed by Peter Dodds McCormick
proclaimed Australia's National Anthem by the Governor-General
on 19 April 1984


Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page let every stage
Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia fair.


The above is the full version of the Anthem and its playing time is approximately 52 seconds.
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Original Verses of Advance Australia Fair:
Verse One

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in Nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing,
"Advance Australia fair!"

Verse Two

When gallant Cook from Albion sail'd,
To trace wide oceans o'er,
True British courage bore him on,
Till he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England's flag,
The standard of the brave;
With all her faults we love her still,
"Brittannia rules the wave!"
In joyful strains then let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"

Verse Three

Beneath our radiant southern Cross,
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"
Verse Four

While other nations of the globe
Behold us from afar,
We'll rise to high renown and shine
Like our glorious southern star;
From England, Scotia, Erin's Isle,
Who come our lot to share,
Let all combine with heart and hand
To advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"

Verse Five

Shou'd foreign foe e'er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand;
Brittannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide ocean's roll,
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains the let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"

The National Anthem of Australia is to be used during all official and ceremonial occasions, however when in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, or a member of the Royal Family, the Royal Anthem (God Save the Queen) must be used.

While Her Majesty The Queen is in Australia, play the Royal Anthem at the beginning of an official engagement, and the Australian National Anthem at the end. Sometimes it is appropriate to play both anthems at the beginning.

If playing the anthems of two countries together, always play the Anthem of the visiting country first.

Both verses of the National Anthem may be used, however it is traditional to only use the first verse.

The Australian National Anthem should not be modified and alternative words should not be used.
 

 
National Floral Emblem

The golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha, Australia's national floral emblem, encapsulates the spirit of the Australian bush. It is a tree which flowers in late winter and spring. The shrub or small tree grows in the understorey of open forest, woodland and in open scrub in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Like all emblems and symbols, the golden wattle captures an essence of Australia that brings the colours, smells and textures of the Australian bush alive. The flower has long been recognised as Australia's premier floral symbol and was officially proclaimed in 1988. In 1912, 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.

Golden wattle was honoured further with the proclamation in 1992 that 1 September in each year be observed as National Wattle Day. This 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 Colours

Australia's national colours, green and gold, were popular and well loved by Australians long before they were officially proclaimed by the Governor-General on 19 April 1984. At international sporting events since before Federation, and of course at many since, the colours have been associated with the achievements of many great Australian sports men and women.

As well as instilling national pride on the field, spectators often also don the official colours and cheer their team waving green and gold boxing kangaroo flags. Back home in Australia, the green triangle and gold kangaroo of the Australian Made logo is the most recognised country of origin symbol on Australian shop shelves.

Prior to proclamation, Australia had no official colours and different combinations vied for the honour: red, white and blue; blue and gold; and green and gold. The colours red, white and blue featured in the first Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth in 1908 and are the colours of the Australian National Flag. Blue and gold have heraldic significance, as the colours of the crest in the 1912 (present) Commonwealth Coat of Arms.

But it was the green and gold of Australia's landscape, principally of many species of wattle, which won the day. Green and gold is also represented on the Commonwealth Coat of Arms by the wattle which is an ornamental accessory to the shield. Green and gold are also the traditional team colours of Australian national sporting teams. The national colours of Australia green and gold. They were formally proclaimed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Ninian Stephen, on 19 April 1984, on advice from the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke. The exact colours are specified as being Pantone Matching System numbers 348C and 116C, and always referred to as "green and gold", respectively.


Scheme Green Gold
Pantone 348 C 116 C
RGB (Hex) 0–135–81 (#008751) 252–209–22 (#FCD116)
CMYK 100%–4%–87%–18% 0%–12%–100%–0%

Green and gold are the traditional team colours of Australian national sporting teams, and nearly every current Australian national sports team wears them, although the hues and proportions of the colours may vary between teams and across eras.

It is widely believed that the colours were chosen because they are the dominant colours of Australia's floral emblem , Acacia pycnantha (the Golden Wattle).
 

 
National Gemstone

The opal is a rare and beautiful precious stone.

A very special series of geographical and climatic phenomena need to coincide for the opal to form. The great desert regions of central Australia provide such conditions and Australia produces over 90 per cent of the world's precious opal.

Australia 's precious opals include the black opal (produced in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales), white opal (majority of the world's production occurs in Coober Pedy, South Australia), crystal opal and boulder opal (mined in Central Queensland). The precious stone was proclaimed Australia's national gemstone on 28 July 1993.

In Aboriginal legend, the mesmerising opal was a gift from the sky, from a rainbow that had touched the earth and created the colours of the opal.
 

 

National Animal

Officially, Australia does not have a national animal. However, kangaroo is considered by many to be the national animal as it appears on the Australian Coat of Arms, on some of its currency, as well as by some of Australia's well known organisations, including Qantas. The kangaroo is important to both Australian culture and the national image.

A kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning 'large foot'). In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family Kangaroos have large, powerful hind legs, large feet adapted for leaping, a long muscular tail for balance, and a small head. Like most marsupials, female kangaroos have a pouch called a marsupium in which joeys complete postnatal development. Estimates of Australia's kangaroo population vary between 30 and 60 million. You should easily be able to see kangaroos in the wild in most rural parts of Australia. In Victoria see them in Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road and in the Grampians. Spot them in South Australia's Kangaroo Island and Flinders Ranges. Get up close in Namadgi and Kosciuszko National Parks in the Australian Alps, in Pebbly Beach in New South Wales and Tasmania's Maria Island. In outback regions, you will often see them as they bound across the road.

 

 
National Bird

Officially, Australia does not have a national bird. However emu is considered by many to be the national bird as it appears on various coins and the Australian Coat of Arms. Emu is also an important cultural icon of Australia.

EMU is the largest bird in Australia and is the only member of the genus Dromaius. It is also the largest bird in the world after the ostrich ratites. There are three subspecies of Emu recorded from Australia. They live throughout the continent of Australia and avoids dense forests, arid and densely populated. The soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds reach up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. But they are able to swim in the water. They have long thin necks and legs. Emus can travel great distances at a fast, economical trot and, if necessary, can sprint at 70 kmph (43 mph) for some distance at a time. Their long legs allow them to take strides of up to 275 centimetres (9.02 ft). They are opportunistically nomadic and may travel long distances to find food; they feed on a variety of plants and insects and may continue for several weeks without food. Emus ingest stones, glass shards and bits of metal to grind food in the digestive system.

They were a food and fuel source for indigenous Australians and early European settlers. Emus are farmed for their meat, oil and leather. They are curious birds who are known to follow and watch other animals and humans.
 

 
Currency Symbol

Australia's currency is the Australian Dollar (AUD). There are 100 cents in one Australian Dollar. The symbol for the Australian Dollar is "$" (sometimes written as "A$" when used internationally). Previouslly, Australia used a monetary system identical to the old British system of Pounds, Shillings and Pence (12 Pence to a Shilling, 20 Shillings to a Pound). Australia adopted this currency on the 14th of February, 1966.

In 1988, Australia introduced its first polymer bank note and in 1996, Australia became the first country in the world to have a complete series of polymer notes. Along with being printed on polymer, Australia's banknotes include a range of other security features designed to combat counterfeiting. Full details about the security features and how they can be used to authenticate our banknote are available from the Reserve Bank of Australia website. It is one of the most heavily traded currencies in the foreign exchange market. Its value is heavily influenced by commodity prices with traditionally high interest rates a factor.

Australia's notes are printed by Note Printing Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Polymer note technology was developed by Australia, and Note Printing Australia prints polymer notes for a number of other countries including Bangladesh, Brunei, Chile, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Western Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Australia's coins are produced by the Royal Australian Mint, which is located in the nation's capital, Canberra. Since opening in 1965, the Mint has produced more than 14billion circulating coins, and has the capacity to produce more than two million coins per day, or more than 600million coins per year.

Australia's Bank Notes

AU$ 100 note features world-renowned soprano Dame Nellie Melba (1861–1931), and the distinguished soldier, engineer and administrator General Sir John Monash (1865–1931).

AU$ 50 note features Aboriginal writer and inventor David Unaipon (1872–1967), and Australia's first female parliamentarian, Edith Cowan (1861–1932).

AU$ 20 note features the founder of the world's first aerial medical service (the Royal Flying Doctor Service), the Reverend John Flynn (1880–1951), and Mary Reibey (1777–1855), who arrived in Australia as a convict in 1792 and went on to become a successful shipping magnate and philanthropist.

AU$ 10 note features the poets AB ‘Banjo' Paterson (1864–1941) and Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962). This note incorporates micro-printed excerpts of Paterson's and Gilmore's work.

AU$ 5 note features Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Parliament House in Canberra, the national capital.


Australia's Coins

AU$ 2 coin, which replaced the two dollar note in 1988, depicts an Aboriginal tribal elder set against a background of the Southern Cross and native grasstrees.

AU$ 1 coin, which replaced the $1 note in 1984, depicts five kangaroos. The standard $1 design, along with the 50, 20, 10 and 5 cent designs, was created by the Queen's official jeweller, Stuart Devlin.

The 50 cent coin carries Australia's coat of arms: the six state badges on a central shield supported by a kangaroo and an emu, with a background of Mitchell grass (see fact sheet on Australia's coat of arms).

The 20 cent coin carries a platypus, one of only two egg-laying mammals in the world. It has webbed feet and a duck-like bill that it uses to hunt for food along the bottom of streams and rivers.

The 10 cent coin features a male lyrebird dancing. A clever mimic, the lyrebird inhabits the dense, damp forests of Australia's eastern coast.

The 5 cent coin depicts an echidna, or spiny anteater, the world's only other egg-laying mammal.

The 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins are made of cupro-nickel (75% copper and 25% nickel). The one and two dollar coins are made of aluminium bronze (92percent copper, 6 per cent aluminium and 2 per cent nickel). The one dollar, 50 and 20 cent circulating coins occasionally feature commemorative designs.