Apr 212020

What is so special and unique about Australia? What are the symbols and icons that represent and reflect Australia’s unique cultural life and history? If you are someone looking for a topic that encompasses Australia’s official, unofficial, and national symbols of Australia, then you are on right page. Continue reading to explore more about Australia’s symbols which Australian’s have chosen to represent their nation.

What are actually symbols?

A symbol is a thing, or a mark, or a character, or a word, or a sign that represents, indicates, and signifies an idea, object or relationship between very different concepts and experiences. In simple words, a symbol is a something that always holds a particular meaning.

In regards to a particular nation, a symbol is a nation’s icon that facilitates cultural regeneration and reflects cultural identities of a particular nation. And the symbols are majorly used to help individuals connect emotionally to the fellow beings of the past, present, and future and shows what the culture stands for.

Australia, a country with a small population and a short urban history has a high number of symbols (which has no uniform acceptance) that reflects Australia’s diversity, culture, and history in a prestigious way. But Australia also faced failure of top-down symbolism due to its disproportionate high number of symbols. For example: it is the time when ruling authorities are trying to promote the ‘Union Jack’ as a uniting symbol but many Australian’s in the process of expressing their nation’s culture and diversity, came up with a high number of symbols by going against the authorities. However, all these symbols are got rejected by the government leaving Australia as a state of disunity and suggested Australia to look out for new symbols.

Till date, top-down symbolism in Australia fails to put forth compliance or conformity just as it failed in the past but on the other hand it defines the political life in Australia and seeking new symbols.

Today, let us know what those official and unofficial symbols of Australia till date are!

Symbols of Australia

The Australian symbols comprises of:

State flag

The flag of Victoria represents the Victoria state in Australia

The first flag of Victoria State was adopted in 1870 and was first flag hoisted by HMWS Nelson on 09-Feb-1870. And it was defaced with British Blue Ensign with the Southern Cross. And the adoption of Victoria flag became first Australian colony to acquire a war ship and now under the act of 1865 colonial naval defense.

Victoria needed a flag to distinguish its ships from other British ships. At the same time, the red ensign was incorrectly authorized for use by civil vessels registered in the colony of Victoria. Despite the invalid authorization, the flag continued to be used, and was hoisted alongside the Union flag during federation celebrations in 1901.

Victoria then adopted the current flag in 1877 with the stars of the Southern Cross from then on having 5, 6, 7, 7 and 8 points. During Queen Victoria’s reign, the crown had slightly dipped arches. From c. 1901–1952, during the reigns of Kings Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and George VI the depiction of the crown known as the “Tudor Crown”, with domed arches, was used. In 1953 the Tudor Crown was replaced with the St Edward’s Crown.

Coat of arms of Australia

The coat of arms of Australia, officially called the Commonwealth Coat of Arms it is the formal symbol of common wealth of Australia. It is the shield indicating the symbols of Australia six states is held up by native Australian animals. The seven-pointed Commonwealth Star surmounting the crest also represents the states and territories, while floral emblems appear below the shield.

The first arms were authorised by King Edward VII on 7 May 1908, and the current version by King George V on 19 September 1912.

Australian Aboriginal Flag

The Australian Aboriginal Flag represents Aboriginal Australians. It is one of the officially proclaimed flags of Australia. It claims and holds special legal and political status. It is often flown together with the national flag and with the Torres Strait Islander Flag.

The Australian Aboriginal Flag was designed in 1971 by Aboriginal artist Harold Thomas. The flag was originally designed for the land rights movement, and it became a symbol of the Aboriginal people of Australia…  The Government of Australia granted it Flag of Australia status, under the Flags Act 1953, by proclamation on 14 July 1995.

Due to an “administrative oversight” the 1995 proclamation was not lodged so that it would continue in force indefinitely.

In the 2008 proclamation, the flag “is recognised as the flag of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and a flag of significance to the Australian nation generally” and appointed “to be the flag of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and to be known as the Australian Aboriginal Flag”.

The symbolic meaning of the flag colours (as stated by Harold Thomas) is:

Black – represents the Aboriginal people of Australia

Yellow circle – represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector

Red – represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal peoples’ spiritual relation to the land.

Advance Australia Fair

“Advance Australia Fair” is the national anthem of Australia. Created by the Scottish-born composer Peter Dodd’s McCormick, the song was first performed in 1878 and sung in Australia as a patriotic song. It replaced “God Save the Queen” as the official national anthem in 1984,

It was first performed by Andrew Fairfax at a function of the Highland Society of New South Wales in Sydney on 30 November 1878. The song quickly gained popularity and an amended version was sung by a choir of around 10,000 at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901

McCormick described the circumstances that inspired him to write “Advance Australia Fair”:

One night I attended a great concert in the Exhibition Building, when all the National Anthems of the world were to be sung by a large choir with band accompaniment. This was very nicely done, but I felt very aggravated that there was not one note for Australia. On the way home in a bus, I concocted the first verse of my song & when I got home I set it to music. I first wrote it in the Tonic Sol-fa notation, then transcribed it into the Old Notation, & I tried it over on an instrument next morning, & found it correct. Strange to say there has not been a note of it altered since. Some alteration has been made in the wording, but the sense is the same. It seemed to me to be like an inspiration, & I wrote the words & music with the greatest ease.

The earliest known sound recording of “Advance Australia Fair” appears in The Landing of the Australian Troops in Egypt. Before its adoption as Australia’s national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair” had considerable use elsewhere. For example, Australia’s national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, used it to announce its news bulletins until 1952.

Find the official lyrics of “Advance Australia Fair” adopted in 1984 below:

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.

Floral emblem

Plants and animals are chosen as symbols by the Aussies to represent their nation’s specific geographic entities, same as some other countries that have a country-wide floral emblem. These symbols are selected through different processes that have been used to adopt these symbols: some are put heads together by government bodies, whereas others are the result of informal public polls.

The term floral emblem, which refers to flowers specifically, is primarily used in Australia and Canada.

 Commonwealth of Australia

Golden Wattle

Acacia pycnantha

 Western Australia

Red and Green Kangaroo Paw

Anigozanthos manglesii


Tasmanian Blue Gum

Eucalyptus globulus


Common Heath

Epacris impressa


Cooktown Orchid

Dendrobium phalaenopsis

 South Australia

Sturt’s Desert Pea

Swainsona formosa

 Australian Capital Territory

Royal Bluebell

Wahlenbergia gloriosa

 New South Wales


Telopea speciosissima

 Northern Territory

Sturt’s Desert Rose

Gossypium sturtianum


A Gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewellery or other adornments. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewellery because of their lustre or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone.

The ancient Greeks, begins with a distinction between precious and semi-precious; similar distinctions are made in other cultures

In modern use the precious stones are diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, with all other gemstones being semi-precious. This distinction reflects the rarity of the respective stones in ancient times, as well as their quality: all are translucent with fine colour in their purest forms,

The traditional distinction does not necessarily reflect modern values, for example, while garnets are relatively inexpensive, a green garnet can be far more valuable than a mid-quality emerald

Another unscientific term for semi-precious gemstones used in art history and archaeology is hard stone. Use of the terms ‘precious’ and ‘semi-precious’ in a commercial context is, arguably, misleading in that it deceptively implies certain stones

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