The Australian White Ensign (also known as the Australian Naval Ensign or the Royal Australian Navy Ensign) is a naval ensign used by ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from 1967 onwards. From the formation of the RAN until 1967, Australian warships used the British White Ensign as their ensign. However, this led to situations where Australian vessels were mistaken for British ships, and when Australia became involved in the Vietnam War, the RAN was effectively fighting under the flag of another, uninvolved nation. Proposals were made in 1965 for a unique Australian ensign, which was approved in 1966, and entered use in 1967.
|Australian White Ensign|
|Adopted||First used on RAN ships in 1967.|
|Design||A defaced British White Ensign without the cross. The cross is replaced with the Southern Cross and the Commonwealth Star/Federation Star.|
Before Australia's Federation, the Colonial navies flew the British Blue Ensign, defaced with the symbol of the relevant colony. When operating outside colonial waters, these ships had to be commissioned into the Royal Navy, and consequently flew the British White Ensign.
During the early 1900s, several British dominions, including Australia, began to campaign for the right to create naval forces independent of the Royal Navy, and capable of deploying outside territorial waters. During the 1909 Imperial Conference, Canada and Australia campaigned for this, and suggested that these ships fly the British White Ensign, defaced with an emblem representing the dominion. No binding decision was made on the matter. During the lead up to the creation of the RAN, the issue was raised again: Australian politicians and the public wanted Australian ships to fly a unique ensign, while the British Admiralty wanted them to fly the British White Ensign. Suggested Australian ensigns included the British ensign defaced with a blue Commonwealth Star, or a variant of the Australian national flag. Australian warships used the national flag as an ensign until the formal creation of the RAN from the Commonwealth Naval Forces on 10 July 1911: ships were ordered to fly the British ensign, while the Australian flag was used as a jack to identify their nationality.
Australian warships regularly found themselves mistaken for their British counterparts. One attempt to alleviate this was made by the executive officer of HMAS Anzac during the Korean War, when he had a kangaroo-shaped 'weathervane' made and mounted to the destroyer's mainmast: this became the basis for the red kangaroo symbol fixed to the funnels or superstructure of major RAN vessels.
Australia's participation in the Vietnam War put the RAN in a difficult situation: the United Kingdom was not involved in the conflict, and RAN ships were effectively fighting under the flag of another, uninvolved nation. During a Naval Estimates hearing in 1965, Victorian politician Samuel Benson voiced concern over the use of the British ensign by Australian ships on wartime deployments, and Donald Chipp, Minister for the Navy, announced that an Australian ensign was under consideration. In 1966, Prime Minister Harold Holt added his support to the idea that a unique RAN ensign was required. The First Naval Member of the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board, Sir Alan McNicoll, proposed two designs to the board members: one retaining the St George's Cross from the old ensign but replacing the Union Flag in the canton with the Australian flag, the other retaining the Union Flag and replacing the Cross with the six stars from the Australian flag. McNicoll was in favour of retaining the Union Flag, and in January 1966, the Naval Board recommended that the second design for the new ensign. The design was approved under section five of the Australian Flags Act 1953. Royal Assent was granted to the new flag by Queen Elizabeth II on 7 November 1966, and its creation was formally announced by Prime Minister Holt on 23 December 1966.
The official changeover occurred on 1 March 1967, with all ships and establishments hoisting the new flag that day. The date was brought forward from 1 May 1967 to correspond with the commissioning of the chartered cargo ship Boonaroo, which became the first ship commissioned under the new ensign. However, the frigate HMAS Stuart was the first to use the ensign, when the ship's company unofficially flew the flag on 25 December 1966 as part of shipboard Christmas Day celebrations while deployed to the Far East Strategic Reserve. Only two RAN ships served in conflict under both the old and new ensigns: the aircraft carrier (later troopship) HMAS Sydney and the destroyer HMAS Vendetta.
The flag is white, with the Union Flag in the canton. A blue Commonwealth Star is located in the lower hoist. The Southern Cross constellation is depicted in the fly in the same manner as the national flag, but in blue instead of white.
Regulations for the use of the Australian White Ensign are detailed in Australian Book of Reference (ABR) 1834 Volume III. Although the flag is normally reserved for use by commissioned warships of the RAN, special dispensation has been granted to the museum vessels HMAS Vampire and HMAS Onslow, and the sail training ship Young Endeavour. The Blue Ensign of the Australian Navy Cadets uses the Australian White Ensign in the canton.
During battle, commissioned ships of the RAN will fly a large Australian White Ensign at the foremast of single masted ships, and at the mainmast of two masted ships.
The following lists events that happened during 1967 in Australia.Alan McNicoll
Vice Admiral Sir Alan Wedel Ramsay McNicoll, (3 April 1908 – 11 October 1987) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and a diplomat. Born in Melbourne, he entered the Royal Australian Naval College at the age of thirteen and graduated in 1926. Following training and staff appointments in Australia and the United Kingdom, he was attached to the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the Second World War. As torpedo officer of the 1st Submarine Flotilla in the Mediterranean theatre, McNicoll was decorated with the George Medal in 1941 for disarming enemy ordnance. He served aboard HMS King George V from 1942, sailing in support of several Arctic convoys and taking part in the Allied invasion of Sicily. McNicoll was posted for staff duties with the Admiralty from September 1943 and was involved in the planning of the Normandy landings. He returned to Australia in October 1944.
McNicoll was made executive officer of HMAS Hobart in September 1945. Advanced to captain in 1949, he successively commanded HMAS Shoalhaven and HMAS Warramunga before being transferred to the Navy Office in July 1950. In 1952, McNicoll chaired the planning committee for the British nuclear tests on the Montebello Islands, and was appointed commanding officer of HMAS Australia. He commanded the ship for two years before it was sold off for scrap, at which point he returned to London to attend the Imperial Defence College in 1955. He occupied staff positions in London and Canberra before being posted to the Naval Board as Chief of Personnel in 1960. This was followed by a term as Flag Officer Commanding HM Australian Fleet.
McNicoll's career culminated with his promotion to vice admiral and appointment as First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) in February 1965. As CNS, McNicoll had to cope with significant morale and recruitment issues occasioned by the February 1964 collision between HMAS Melbourne and Voyager and, furthermore, oversaw an extensive modernisation of the Australian fleet. In 1966, he presided over the RAN contribution to the Vietnam War, and it was during his tenure that the Australian White Ensign was created. McNicoll retired from the RAN in 1968 and was appointed as the inaugural Australian Ambassador to Turkey. He served in the diplomatic post for five years, then retired to Canberra. McNicoll died in 1987 at the age of 79.Australian National Maritime Museum
The Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) is a federally operated maritime museum in Darling Harbour, Sydney. After considering the idea of establishing a maritime museum, the federal government announced that a national maritime museum would be constructed at Darling Harbour, tied into the New South Wales State government's redevelopment of the area for the Australian bicentenary. The museum building was designed by Philip Cox, and although an opening date of 1988 was initially set, construction delays, cost overruns, and disagreements between the state and federal governments over funding responsibility pushed the opening back to 1991.
One of six museums directly operated by the federal government, the ANMM is the only one located outside of the Australian Capital Territory. The museum is structured around seven main galleries, focusing on the discovery of Australia, the relationships between the Australian Aborigines and the water, travel to Australia by sea, the ocean as a resource, water-based relaxation and entertainment, the naval defence of the nation, and the relationship between the United States of America and Australia. The last gallery was funded by the United States government, and is the only national museum gallery in the world funded by a foreign nation. Four additional gallery spaces are used for temporary exhibits. Three museum ships – the HM Bark Endeavour Replica, the destroyer HMAS Vampire, and the submarine HMAS Onslow – are open to the public, while smaller historical vessels berthed outside can be viewed but not boarded.Eureka Flag
The Eureka Flag is a flag design which features dark blue field 260 cm × 400 cm (100 in × 160 in) (2:3.08 ratio); a horizontal stripe 37 cm (15 in) wide and a vertical line crossing it of 36 centimetres (14 in) wide; and 5 eight pointed stars, the central star being 65 cm (26 in) tall (point to point) and the other stars 60 cm (24 in) tall, representing the Crux Australis constellation.The design was first used as the war flag of the Eureka Rebellion (3 December 1854) at Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. A number of people swore allegiance to the flag as a symbol of defiance at its first flying at Bakery Hill on 29 November 1854. Over 30 miners were killed at the Eureka Stockade, along with six troopers and police. Some 125 miners were arrested and many others badly wounded.The flag was lent to the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka by the Art Gallery of Ballarat; the Museum closed in 2018.The flag design has gained wider notability in Australian culture due to its adoption as a symbol of democracy, egalitarianism, and general purpose symbol of protest, mainly in relation to a variety of anti-establishment, non-conformist causes. It is listed as an object of state heritage significance on the Victorian Heritage Register and was designated as a Victorian Icon by the National Trust in 2006. It is used by many trade unions in Australia as well as by a number of right-wing organizations and political parties, such as the Australia First Party.Flag of Australia
The flag of Australia is based on the British maritime Blue Ensign – a blue field with the Union Jack in the canton or upper hoist quarter – augmented or defaced with a large white seven-pointed star (the Commonwealth Star) and a representation of the Southern Cross constellation, made up of five white stars – one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars. There are other official flags representing Australia, its people and core functions of government.
The flag's original design (with a six-pointed Commonwealth Star) was chosen in 1901 from entries in a competition held following Federation, and was first flown in Melbourne on 3 September 1901, the date proclaimed as Australian National Flag Day. A slightly different design was approved by King Edward VII in 1903. The seven-pointed commonwealth star version was introduced by a proclamation dated 8 December 1908. The dimensions were formally gazetted in 1934, and in 1954 the flag became recognised by, and legally defined in, the Flags Act 1953, as the "Australian National Flag".HMAS Boonaroo
HMAS Boonaroo (also known as MV Boonaroo) was an Australian National Lines cargo vessel used to support Australian forces fighting in the Vietnam War. She was the first Australian ship to be commissioned after the introduction of the Australian White Ensign.HMAS Manoora (L 52)
HMAS Manoora (L 52) was a Kanimbla-class landing platform amphibious ship operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Originally built for the United States Navy (USN) as the Newport-class tank landing ship USS Fairfax County (LST-1193), the ship was decommissioned in 1994 and sold to the RAN.
Although commissioned into Australian service in that year, the vessel was heavily modified from her original design, and did not begin operations until the end of the decade. During her Australian career, Manoora saw wartime service during the War in Afghanistan, and non-combat service in the Solomon Islands and East Timor. In 2001, the ship was involved in the Tampa affair, a diplomatic incident involving a Norwegian cargo ship and a group of asylum seekers.
In late 2010, Manoora and sister ship Kanimbla were placed in an 'operational pause' after several problems were identified with the ships. In early 2011, it was announced that repairing Manoora was cost-prohibitive, and she was decommissioned on 27 May 2011. The ship was sold for breaking in 2013.HMAS Stuart (DE 48)
HMAS Stuart (F21/DE 48) was one of six River-class destroyer escorts built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The ship was laid down by the Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company at Cockatoo Island Dockyard in 1959, and commissioned into the RAN in 1963.
During the ship's career, Stuart achieved a number of historical firsts: she was the first RAN ship to fly the Australian White Ensign, and the first major vessel to be homeported at Fleet Base West.
Stuart was paid off in 1991, a year later than originally planned; RAN commitments to the Gulf War saw several warships deployed to the Middle East, and Stuart was retained in service to boost local defence. The destroyer escort was sold for scrapping.HMAS Sydney (R17)
HMAS Sydney (R17/A214/P214/L134) was a Majestic-class light aircraft carrier operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was built for the Royal Navy and was launched as HMS Terrible (93) in 1944, but was not completed before the end of World War II. The carrier was sold to Australia in 1947, completed, and commissioned into the RAN as Sydney in 1948.
Sydney was the first of three conventional aircraft carriers to serve in the RAN, and operated as the navy's flagship during the early part of her career. From late 1951 to early 1952, she operated off the coast of Korea during the Korean War, making her the first carrier owned by a Commonwealth Dominion, and the only carrier in the RAN, to see wartime service. Retasked as a training vessel following the 1955 arrival of her modernised sister ship, HMAS Melbourne, Sydney remained in service until 1958, when she was placed in reserve as surplus to requirements.
The need for a sealift capability saw the ship modified for service as a fast troop transport, and recommissioned in 1962. Sydney was initially used for training and a single supply run in support of Malaysia's defence policy against Indonesia, but in 1965, she sailed on the first voyage to Vũng Tàu, transporting soldiers and equipment to serve in the Vietnam War. 25 voyages to Vietnam were made between 1965 and 1972, earning the ship the nickname "Vung Tau Ferry".
Sydney was decommissioned in 1973, and was not replaced. Despite several plans to preserve all or part of the ship as a maritime museum, tourist attraction, or car park, the carrier was sold to a South Korean steel mill for scrapping in 1975.HMAS Vampire (D11)
HMAS Vampire was the third of three Australian-built Daring class destroyers serving in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of the first all-welded ships built in Australia, she was constructed at Cockatoo Island Dockyard between 1952 and 1959, and was commissioned into the RAN a day after completion.
Vampire was regularly deployed to South East Asia during her career: she was attached to the Far East Strategic Reserve on five occasions, including during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, and escorted the troop transport HMAS Sydney on six of the latter's twenty-five transport voyages to Vietnam. In 1977, the destroyer was assigned to escort the Royal Yacht Britannia during Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip's visit to Australia. In 1980, Vampire was reclassified as a training ship.
The warship remained in service until 1986, when she was decommissioned and presented to the Australian National Maritime Museum for preservation as a museum ship; the largest museum-owned object on display in Australia.HMAS Vendetta (D08)
HMAS Vendetta was one of three Daring class destroyers built for and operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The destroyer was built by Williamstown Naval Dockyard and entered service in 1958. During her early career, Vendetta was deployed to the Far East Strategic Reserve on multiple occasions. In 1965 and 1966, the destroyer undertook deterrence patrols during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation. Along with several runs escorting the troop transport HMAS Sydney to Vietnam, from late 1969 to early 1970 Vendetta was assigned to combat operations, and became the only Australian-built warship to serve in a shore bombardment role during the Vietnam War.
The ship underwent a two-year modernisation from 1971 to 1973, and in December 1974 was one of thirteen RAN warships involved in Operation Navy Help Darwin after Cyclone Tracy devastated Darwin. Several more deployments were made to the Far East, up until 1978. In October 1979, the destroyer was decommissioned, and served as a parts hulk for sister ship HMAS Vampire. Vendetta was sold for ship breaking in January 1987.Half-mast
Half-mast refers to a flag flying on a ship and half-staff refers to a flag flying below the summit on a pole on land or on a building. In many countries this is seen as a symbol of respect, mourning, distress, or, in some cases, a salute. Flags are said to be half-mast if flown from ships and half-staff if on land, although this distinction is mainly observed in the United States – places such as Canada and the United Kingdom do not have ‘half-staff’ in their vocabulary and rely solely on using the term ‘half-mast’ when ordering flags to fly lowered.The tradition of flying the flag at half-staff began in the 17th century. According to some sources, the flag is lowered to make room for an "invisible flag of death" flying above. However, there is disagreement about where on a flagpole a flag should be when it is at half-staff. It is often recommended that a flag at half-staff be lowered only as much as the hoist, or width, of the flag. British flag protocol is that a flag should be flown no less than two-thirds of the way up the flagpole, with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the pole. It is common for the phrase to be taken literally and for a flag to be flown only halfway up a flagpole, although some authorities deprecate that practice.When hoisting a flag that is to be displayed at half-staff, it should be raised to the finial of the pole for an instant, then lowered to half-staff. Likewise, when the flag is lowered at the end of the day, it should be hoisted to the finial for an instant, and then lowered.List of Australian flags
This is a list of flags of different designs that have been used in Australia.Military colours, standards and guidons
In military organizations, the practice of carrying colours, standards or guidons, both to act as a rallying point for troops and to mark the location of the commander, is thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt some 5,000 years ago. The Roman Empire also made battle standards a part of their vast armies. It was formalized in the armies of Europe in the High Middle Ages, with standards being emblazoned with the commander's coat of arms.Military history of Australia
The military history of Australia spans the nation's 230-year modern history, from the early Australian frontier wars between Aboriginals and Europeans to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 21st century. Although this history is short when compared to that of many other nations, Australia has been involved in numerous conflicts and wars, and war and military service have been significant influences on Australian society and national identity, including the Anzac spirit. The relationship between war and Australian society has also been shaped by the enduring themes of Australian strategic culture and its unique security dilemma.
As British offshoots, the Australian colonies participated in Britain's small wars of the 19th century, while later as a federated dominion, and then an independent nation, Australia fought in the First World War and Second World War, as well as in the wars in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam during the Cold War. In the Post-Vietnam era Australian forces have been involved in numerous international peacekeeping missions, through the United Nations and other agencies, including in the Sinai, Persian Gulf, Rwanda, Somalia, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, as well as many overseas humanitarian relief operations, while more recently they have also fought as part of multi-lateral forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In total, nearly 103,000 Australians died during the course of these conflicts.Royal Australian Navy
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies were integrated into a national force, called the Commonwealth Naval Forces. Originally intended for local defence, the navy was granted the title of 'Royal Australian Navy' in 1911, and became increasingly responsible for defence of the region.
Britain's Royal Navy’s Australian Squadron was assigned to the Australia Station and provided support to the RAN. The Australian and New Zealand governments helped to fund the Australian Squadron until 1913, while the Admiralty committed itself to keeping the Squadron at a constant strength. The Australian Squadron ceased on 4 October 1913, when RAN ships entered Sydney Harbour for the first time.The Royal Navy continued to provide blue-water defence capability in the Pacific up to the early years of the Second World War. Then, rapid wartime expansion saw the acquisition of large surface vessels and the building of many smaller warships. In the decade following the war, the RAN acquired a small number of aircraft carriers, the last of which was decommissioned in 1982.
Today, the RAN consists of 48 commissioned vessels, 3 non-commissioned vessels and over 16,000 personnel. The navy is one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in the South Pacific region, with a significant presence in the Indian Ocean and worldwide operations in support of military campaigns and peacekeeping missions. The current Chief of Navy is Vice Admiral Michael Noonan.Union Jack
The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. The flag also has official status in Canada, by parliamentary resolution, where it is known as the Royal Union Flag. Additionally, it is used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas territories. The Union Flag also appears in the canton (upper flagstaff-side quarter) of the flags of several nations and territories that are former British possessions or dominions, as well as the state flag of Hawaii.
The claim that the term Union Jack properly refers only to naval usage has been disputed, following historical investigations by the Flag Institute in 2013.The origins of the earlier flag of Great Britain date back to 1606. James VI of Scotland had inherited the English and Irish thrones in 1603 as James I, thereby uniting the crowns of England, Scotland, and Ireland in a personal union, although the three kingdoms remained separate states. On 12 April 1606, a new flag to represent this regal union between England and Scotland was specified in a royal decree, according to which the flag of England (a red cross on a white background, known as St George's Cross), and the flag of Scotland (a white saltire on a blue background, known as the Saltire or St Andrew's Cross), would be joined together, forming the flag of England and Scotland for maritime purposes. King James also began to refer to a "Kingdom of Great Britaine", although the union remained a personal one.
The present design of the Union Flag dates from a Royal proclamation following the union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. The flag combines aspects of three older national flags: the red cross of St George for the Kingdom of England, the white saltire of St Andrew for Scotland (which two were united in the first Union Flag), and the red saltire of St Patrick to represent Ireland.
Notably, the home country of Wales is not represented separately in the Union Flag, as the flag was designed after the invasion of Wales in 1282. Hence Wales as a home country today has no representation on the flag; it appears under the cross of St George, which represents the former Kingdom of England (which included Wales).White Ensign
The White Ensign, at one time called the St George's Ensign due to the simultaneous existence of a cross-less version of the flag, is an ensign flown on British Royal Navy ships and shore establishments. It consists of a red St George's Cross on a white field with the Union Flag in the upper canton.
The White Ensign is also flown by yachts of members of the Royal Yacht Squadron and by ships of Trinity House escorting the reigning monarch.
In addition to the United Kingdom, several other nations have variants of the White Ensign with their own national flags in the canton, with the St George's Cross sometimes being replaced by a naval badge omitting the cross altogether. Yachts of the Royal Irish Yacht Club fly a white ensign with an Irish tricolour in the first quadrant and defaced by the crowned harp from the Heraldic Badge of Ireland. The Flag of the British Antarctic Territory and the Commissioners' flag of the Northern Lighthouse Board place the Union emblem in the first quarter of a white field, omitting the overall red St George's Cross, but are not ensigns for use at sea.
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