112 years and still flying: Happy birthday to our flag

Australian flag
Australian Flag flying on top of the Royal Exhibition Building dome, the site where the first Australian flag was flown in 1901.
Image: John Broomfield
Source: Museum Victoria

Media contact: Alex Dook

September 3 marks the anniversary of the unveiling and first flying of the Australian flag on the dome of Melbourne’s iconic Royal Exhibition Building where it still flies after 112 years.

The design of the flag was chosen in the months following Federation from a worldwide competition with almost 30,000 entries. The flag still flies as it did in September 1901 - above the iconic dome of the Royal Exhibition Building.

‘The competition was jointly won by five different entrants, who submitted similar designs,’ said Dr Charlotte Smith, Senior Curator, Museum Victoria. ‘There were two winners from Victoria, one from New South Wales, one from Western Australia and one from New Zealand. Each of the winners was awarded £40.’

‘The Royal Exhibition Building also hosted the opening of the first Federal Parliament of Australia in May 1901 and, at the time of its construction, was the largest building in Australia.’

The building was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004 in part because it is the only 19th-century great hall still used as an exhibition and event venue.

The Australian flag still flies above the dome, flanked at the building’s end by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.  

Museum Victoria Public Relations contact:
Alex Dook, 8341 7141 / 0478 348 880, adook@museum.vic.gov.au

For all general public enquiries, contact the museum's Discovery Centre

Image Gallery

'United we stand' postcard Melbourne Exhibition Building, 1881 Royal Exhibition Building