The Six-Pointed Star on the Australian Flag
The Australian flag is a recognizable symbol of the country and its people. It is composed of a blue field with the Union Jack in the upper left corner and a large white seven-pointed star known as the Commonwealth Star in the lower left corner. There are also four smaller seven-pointed stars arranged in the shape of the Southern Cross constellation. However, there is also a six-pointed star present on the flag, which raises questions about its significance and origins.
History of the Australian Flag
The Australian flag has a complex history that reflects the country’s evolution from a British colony to a sovereign nation. It was first created in 1901, when Australia became a federation of six states. The original design was chosen through a competition, and it featured the Union Jack and a five-pointed star known as the Federation Star. However, this design was not universally accepted, and there were ongoing debates about the flag’s symbolism and meaning.
The Original Design and Its Meaning
The original design of the Australian flag reflected the country’s ties to the British Empire and its aspirations as a new nation. The Union Jack represented Britain, while the Federation Star symbolized the six Australian states, as well as the territories that would later join the federation. The blue background represented the ocean that surrounded Australia, while the Southern Cross constellation represented the country’s location in the southern hemisphere.
The Addition of the Commonwealth Star
In 1908, the Australian government decided to add a seventh point to the Federation Star, representing the newly established Commonwealth of Australia. This new star became known as the Commonwealth Star and was placed beneath the Union Jack. It was also made larger than the other stars to emphasize its importance.
The Six-Pointed Star’s Origins and Significance
The six-pointed star on the Australian flag is also known as the Star of David or Magen David, a symbol that has its origins in ancient Judaism. It was adopted as a Jewish symbol in the Middle Ages and is often associated with the biblical King David. The star’s significance varies depending on the context, but it is generally seen as a symbol of protection, unity, and faith.
The Six-Pointed Star in Indigenous Australian Culture
While the six-pointed star is not traditionally associated with Indigenous Australian culture, it has been used in some contemporary Indigenous art and design. It has also been incorporated into some Indigenous flags and symbols as a way of expressing solidarity with Jewish and other marginalized communities.
The Six-Pointed Star in Christianity and Judaism
The six-pointed star has been used as a symbol in both Christianity and Judaism, although it has different meanings in each religion. In Christianity, it is often seen as a symbol of the six days of creation and the Sabbath. In Judaism, it represents the Shield of David and is associated with the biblical King David and his descendants.
The Six-Pointed Star in Australian History and Culture
The presence of the six-pointed star on the Australian flag has been a source of controversy and debate. Some view it as a symbol of diversity and multiculturalism, while others see it as a nod to Australia’s Jewish population. Still others argue that it has no place on the flag and detracts from the country’s national identity.
Criticisms and Controversies Surrounding the Star
Critics of the six-pointed star on the Australian flag argue that it is a foreign symbol that has no relevance to Australian history or culture. They also point out that it was added without proper consultation or public debate. Some have called for its removal from the flag, while others have proposed alternative designs that better reflect Australia’s unique identity.
Calls for Changing the Australian Flag
There have been ongoing calls to change the Australian flag, with various groups advocating for different designs and symbols. Some argue for a return to the original design, while others propose new symbols that better reflect the country’s Indigenous heritage or multicultural identity. However, changing the flag is a complex and controversial issue that involves not only design but also politics, history, and national identity.
Conclusion: The Importance of Symbols in National Identity
The six-pointed star on the Australian flag is just one example of how symbols can shape and reflect a nation’s identity. As Australia continues to evolve and grow, it is likely that its symbols and icons will also change, reflecting the country’s diverse and complex history and culture. Whether or not the six-pointed star remains on the flag, it will continue to be a source of debate and discussion, highlighting the importance of symbols and their meanings in shaping national identity.
References and Further Reading
- Australian National Flag Association. (2021). History of the Australian Flag. Retrieved from
- Australian Government. (2018). Australian National Flag. Retrieved from https://www.pmc.gov.au/government/australian-national-flag
- Jewish Virtual Library. (n.d.). Star of David. Retrieved from
- The Conversation. (2021). Why the six-pointed star is on Australia’s national flag. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/why-the-six-pointed-star-is-on-australias-national-flag-154473