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Designed by Ivor Evans, I was chosen over & above some 32,000 contenders.

Although I was never an orphan, I was adopted on that sparkling Spring day, the 3rd September, 1901, when I flew above the Exhibition Building in Melbourne. I was hailed & celebrated by people standing on the threshold of nationhood. They took me to their hearts.

In that official ceremony, in the presence of our first Prime Minister, I became the chief symbol of a new nation, embracing the ideals of self-determination, national sovereignty & personal freedom under God.

I have been hoisted aloft over many buildings, from humble homes to the Houses of Parliament. I have listened to every Prime Minister declare his allegiance to me, to our Monarch, & to our Constitution. I have witnessed the pledge of each one to protect & defend those freedoms we all cherish, even above life itself.

I am carried with pride in ceremonies & processions. I have draped the caskets of your national heroes carried to their last resting place. The caskets of Kings & Queens, eminent Statesmen, Generals, Admirals, humble Privates & the Unknown Soldier.

Wherever free men gather, wherever there is justice, faith, hope, charity & truth; there too, am I.

At the tender age of 14 years, I received my baptism of fire in World War I. I flew proudly in those early days as we heard the call to do battle alongside those of our own kin. I was carried up the steep hills of Gallipoli & I was there with the men in the trenches. I watched Simpson bring out the wounded on his doughy little donkey. I breathed the dust of the deserts & rode in glory with the Light Horse Brigade. I saw our finest sons fall & lie still. They had given their last full measure of devotion. The war was over for them forever, but I kept my lonely vigil over their graves & stayed to watch the flowers grow amid the crosses, row upon row, in Flanders Fields. Oh, young Australia, I was there with your fathers whom I longed to comfort. Look at me again.

You know me by my distinctive emblems.

The  *Union Jack is the tie that binds us to your ancestors & rich heritage down through the centuries.

The upright red cross on a white field is the Cross of St George, Patron Saint of England. This Cross was there when King John set his royal seal on Magna Carta in 1215 & it was there when Simon de Montfort brought together the very first Parliament in 1265, making England truly the Mother of Parliaments.

I proudly wear two other crosses. The white diagonal cross on a blue field is the Cross of St Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland. The red diagonal cross on a white field is the Cross of St Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland. These three crosses which perhaps you scarcely understand, unite our heritage in this wonderful land & forge our future in an inseparable bond. The blazing Southern Cross marks our way ahead while the seven-pointed Federation Star joins our states & territories in a single, yet united, commonwealth. All this set in a field of blue - the blue of our southern skies & of the endless ocean washing our golden, sandy beaches & coral shores. We are the heirs to a culture, rich & diverse. We are the offspring child of a great empire. We have a glorious tomorrow. We are one.

I have been to many places. I have seen many things.

With our explorers, I’ve crossed the icy wastes of Antarctica & climbed the heights of Mt Everest. I look down with pride on our mighty sportsmen & women as they win honours for their country all over the world. At every official or memorable event in this land, I hold the position of honour.

Following World War I, we frolicked in our newfound liberty, growth, prosperity, increase & our common wealth. But far to the north, in Russia, a new tyranny spewed forth, slaughtering the rich & regal, the lowly & humble, usurping the sovereignty of nations not of its own. We watched from afar, protected by the border of oceans. Then came 1939 & once again, we heard the beat of the warmonger’s drums. Again, my heart went out to our brave soldiers, sailors & airmen. I was there with them. In the Middle East, in New Guinea, Borneo & many other places. I was trodden in the mud red with the blood of those brave young Australians so ruthlessly murdered in prison of war camps.

Finally, in ’45, peace at last. So we thought. With just a few short years rest, I was again carried into battle, caught up in further hostilities by those promoting war. I watched & praised the endurance & spirit of our volunteers in Korea. I, too, felt the sufferings of our brave sons & daughters in the forces in Vietnam.

I am well-known & remembered in many places. I am flown every day in the school at Villers-Bretonneux, in France, where grateful children & teachers do not forget their debt to Australian soldiers. I am many things to many people. To some, I am yesterday, today & tomorrow, an inseparable link in the chain that binds men to God & country. And because I am on the side of God through our great heritage, there are the God-less who seek to destroy me & replace those three Christian crosses with plants or animals, but they dare not. Why? Because today, I am everywhere. In the homes of the humble & the mansions of millionaires. I am in the cities, the suburbs & in country towns. From coast to coast, right across this great nation, I am raised with pride & dignity. Oh, my people, you have given so much to be Australian & I am proud that we are one. Bonded through trial & triumph. Look at me & remember our heritage & realise our great future. Together, we will grow, & all the world will know.

You must never allow those who seek to reduce diversity into dust, to grind our treasures into a melting pot. And as you consider the future of your own true identity, remember, I was there in your every hour of loss, your every moment of glory. So too, I will be there in all your tomorrows, though proud, loyal & glorious through all my short history, there is one thing for which I need you most of all. I cannot fasten myself to the flagstaff.

The above verse is from the song "The Voice of the Australian Flag", performed by Larry Hannigan.

*'Union Jack' was officially acknowledged as an alternative name for the Union Flag by the Admiralty and Parliament in the early 20th century. The term 'jack' refers to the flag that is flown from the bowsprit of of a ship, often denoting nationality. The Union Flag is commonly known as the Union Jack, although the exact origin of the name is unclear. One explanation is that it gets its name from the 'jack staff' of naval vessels from which the original Union Flag was flown.