The State flag dates from the time when Queensland was a self-governing British colony with its own navy. In 1865, the Governor of Queensland was told by the Admiralty in London that the colony’s vessels of war should fly the Blue Ensign, imposed with the colony’s badge, on the stern, and a blue pennant at the masthead. Other vessels in the colony’s services were to fly the same flag, but not the pennant. The Queensland Government encourages the flying of the State flag.
The state flag of Queensland is a British Blue Ensign defaced with the state badge on a white disc in the fly. The badge is a light blue Maltese Cross with an imperial crown in the centre of the cross.The flag dates from 1876, with minor variations, and the badge was designed by William Hemmant, the Colonial Secretary and Treasurer of Queensland in 1876.
Queensland Coat of Arms
The Queensland Coat of Arms, the oldest State Arms in Australia, was granted to the Colony of Queensland by Queen Victoria in 1893. The Coat of Arms is a heraldic device, symbolising the Queen’s constitutional authority in the State. In line with economic trends in the nineteenth century, primary industries take pride of place on the Arms. Rural activities are represented by a sheaf of wheat, the heads of a bull and a ram, and by two stalks of sugar cane.
The importance of mining is indicated by a column of gold rising from a heap of quartz. The State motto, Audax at Fidelis, means “Bold but faithful”. The Coat of Arms was given a more modern rendering when the supporters, the red deer and the brolga, were assigned in 1977, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee year. The brolga is one of Queensland’s most distinctive native birds. The red deer was introduced from the royal herds near London.
Queensland State Animal Emblem
The koala was officially proclaimed the faunal emblem of Queensland in 1971 after a newspaper poll showed strong public support for this endearing marsupial as the State’s animal ambassador. The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is commonly distributed throughout eastern areas of Queensland south of Townsville although it has been found as far north as Cooktown and as far west as Cunnamulla. The koala is a marsupial – an animal which carries its young in a pouch.
The newborn young, less than two centimetres long, crawls through its mother’s fur to her pouch where it is harboured and suckled for about six months. Normally a gentle creature, the koala spends almost all its life in the tops of eucalypt trees, usually dozing during the day, and actively foraging for choice leaves at night. It rarely drinks water, since it normally gains sufficient moisture from dew and its diet of oily eucalypt leaves.
Queensland State Bird Emblem
The Brolga, featured on the Queensland Coat-of-Arms since 1977, was officially proclaimed the bird emblem of Queensland in January, 1986. Of 14 species that comprise a world wide family of cranes, brolgas (Grus rubicunda) are the only species native to Australia. They can be found all along the Queensland coast from Rockhampton to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Brolgas are otherwise known as the Native Companions. Adult birds are predominantly grey and are characterised by a long thin neck, a bare head and a conspicuous patch of red skin behind the eye. They stand more than a metre tall on long, slender legs and their outstretched wings can measure up to two metres across.