MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday 16 December 1993

Announcement of Winning Designs in the Australian Flag Competition

The winning entries in the Australian Flag Competition will be announced in Canberra tomorrow at:

2:00 pm Friday 17 December 1993
Old Parliament House
Canberra

The Australian Flag Competition was held over a period of 8 weeks in The Australian newspaper and closed on 26 November 1993. Over 20000 designs were received. The competition was judged on Saturday 11 December 1993, by the following persons:

  • Mr Sol Belair - Deputy Chairman ATSIC
  • Ms Anna Booth - Vice-Pres. ACTU, Director Commonwealth Bank, NRMA
  • Mrs Betty Churcher - Director National Gallery of Australia
  • Mr John Coates - President Australian Olympic Committee
  • Mrs Janet Holmes à Court - Executive Chairman Heytesbury Holdings
  • Mr Bob Isherwood - Director AWARD (Australian Writers and Art Directors)
  • Ms Jenny Kee - Fashion Designer
  • Mr John Knowland - President AGDA (Australian Graphic Designers Assn)
  • Mr Kieran Perkins - Olympic Gold Medallist

The judges were assisted in the selection of the winning designs by expert vexillological advice from Ralph Kelly, President of the Australian Flag Society.

$25000 in total prize-money was awarded. The sponsors who each donated $5000 were Charles Parsons & Co, Mr Stanley Horwitz of Horwitz Publications Ltd, HQ Magazine, McDonald Industries and Prime Television Limited. WordPerfect Pacific donated 6 copies of their latest WP version 6.0 word processing programs as children′s and youth′s prizes.

In deciding on the winning designs, the judges reached a consensus on the following issues:

  • Colours: Blues, whites, reds and red-ochres were the preferred colours. The judges were not generally attracted to green and gold.
  • Symbols: There was an overwhelming desire to retain the Southern Cross. This was also evident in approximately 75% of the entries which included the Southern Cross. The majority of the judges agreed that the addition of the symbolic Uluru (Ayers Rock) was a most appropriate, inspiring and important design element. They were not generally attracted to the kangaroo or any other flora or fauna symbols.
  • General: The judges had much difficulty in choosing a clear winner from the many excellent designs, including a number with similar design elements.
Mark Tucker was awarded first prize and $12000. He used the colours of the current Australian flag, showing the two continuing aspects of colour and the Southern Cross in an evolutionary way, whilst introducing the uniquely Australian element of a stylised Uluru (Ayers Rock). The separation of Uluru from the sky with the curved white band also impressed the judges for two reasons: First, the flag is more easily recognised from a distance and secondly, it added a third evolutionary element, evocative of a section of the Union Jack. They also liked the positioning of the Southern Cross close to the flag-pole, as it would be more visible when the flag was not fully unfurled.

Some of the judges thought there was scope for researching the juxtaposition of the stars as to whether they were better positioned in the centre of the flag, for symmetry and balance, and whether they may not be slightly bulky and over-sized. They also agreed there was scope for further development of various shades of red and blue to make a new Australian flag more distinctive and Australian in tone.

Roderick Simpson was awarded second prize of $8000 for his design which was similar to the winning design. While it displayed an Australian blue sky with a twinkling Southern Cross over a red-ochre Uluru, the judges were concerned that the replication of these non-standard shades of colour, in normal print processes and on fabric would be difficult to achieve, diminishing its impact and natural beauty.

Third (equal) prize was coincidentally shared by the same person, Anthony Burton (2 x $2000) who submitted many entries. His first design is in red, white, blue and yellow, representing reconciliation of the colours of the existing Australian flag and the design of the Aboriginal flag. It reflects the nexus between the indigenous and colonial history of our continent, featuring the sun in the sky over the red land. His second design is a tri-panelled blue and white design depicting one nation, from sea to sea under the Southern Cross.

The judges shared the remaining $1000 amongst the remaining twelve finalists and awarded the WordPerfect word processing programs to six entrants, ranging in age from 7 to 17 years.

The winning designs will be on display for approximately the next six months at the Australian Museum′s `Flying the Flag′ exhibition at Old Parliament House in Canberra.