Historic flag

08 May, 2011

Souvenir flag to commemorate the opening of the first federal parliament of Australia, in May 1901.
Souvenir flag to commemorate the opening of the first federal parliament of Australia, in May 1901.
Image: Julia Bird
Source: Julia Bird

Question: Can you please tell me about this flag.  It features the Duke of York, George V and Duchess Mary.  I think it is a Federation Flag, but would like to know more about it and how to care for it.

Answer: This flag dates from early 1901. It was manufactured as a souvenir of the opening of the first federal parliament of Australia, in May 1901.  It also commemorates the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall & York with their portraits shown in the lower left quadrant. The flag is the Australian Federation Flag.

There is little information available about flag manufacturers and without a label on the flag, it is difficult to identify where or how many were made.  This flag is very rare; flags and pennants rarely survive, due to their ephemeral nature. This example needs conservation treatment and information about storing and maintaining the flag. You may want to consider contacting the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials for advice.

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