Why Australia and New Zealand Have Union Jack On Their Flag - Knowledge Hub

Why Australia and New Zealand Have Union Jack On Their Flag


The idea of this post was conceived some years back when I was in college. While watching Cricket World Cup 2007 match between Australia and New Zealand, we were discussing the similarity between the flags of the two nations. Later I decided to do some research on this, and what I found was quite interesting.

Before proceeding further, let me show you what the flags of Australia and New Zealand look like:

australian flag

new-zealand-flag

As you must have noticed, one striking similarity between the two flags is the presence of the same symbol at the top left corner of both the flags. This symbol is nothing but the Union Jack- flag of the United Kingdom (Btw, don’t get confused between UK and England. There is a difference between UK, Great Britain and England which I’ll cover in a future post.)


Flag of the United Kingdom 
But why do Australia and New Zealand display flag of some other country on their national flag?

The presence of Union Jack in the national flag of Australia and New Zealand has its symbolic importance. It represents the link between Australia/New Zealand and UK. Both Australia and New Zealand, like India, were a part of British colonies. They are now a part of British Commonwealth Nation, and presence of Union Jack symbolizes that connection.

The Commonwealth is a group comprising UK, its dependencies, and many former British colonies, which have chosen to maintain ties of friendship and cooperation. Though the Commonwealth nations acknowledge the British monarch as symbolic head of the Commonwealth, but only a few, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica etc., recognizes her or him as the head of their own states.

As is clear from the above definition of Commonwealth, Australia and New Zealand recognizes the Queen of UK-Elizabeth-II as the head of their state. So these countries display Union Jack in their flag.

Other similarities between the flags of Australia and New Zealand

Apart from this, there are a couple of other similarities between the two flags.
First is the presence of stars at the right hand side of the flag, which are arranged in the same pattern on both the flags (though Australian flag has one star more than New Zealand’s flag, and also the color of stars is different). These stars represent the Southern Cross constellation – a group of stars that can be seen only from Southern Hemisphere of the Earth.

In Northern Hemisphere we have Pole Star that points towards North pole. This star can’t be seen from southern hemisphere of the earth. Instead they have Southern Cross constellation- which cannot be seen from Northern Hemisphere. This is used to locate South Pole.

Second is the blue background color.

Other countries displaying Union Jack on their flag

Australia and New Zealand are not the only countries having Union Jack in their flag. Bermuda and Fiji too have Union Jack present on their flag. If you know of some other countries having Union Jack on their flag, do tell us through your comments.
Update: Tuvalu is another country showing Union Jack on their flag. Thanks for the information Pooja.
If you also know of any such country, drop in a comment about it.


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19 Responses to “Why Australia and New Zealand Have Union Jack On Their Flag”

  1. Blogger
    March 9, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Hey that was quite a good info ! i never knew there will be so many reasons attached with it ! Thanx for sharing it ! M following you …you got an awesome site with loadsa info !

  2. Vinayak
    March 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    oh ho
    didn't knew that
    thanks for the info
    and what about ur tech blog?
    tell me as soon as u make it

  3. Anshul
    March 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    @Blogger
    Thanks for appreciation and following.. hope u'll enjoy future posts as well..

    @ Vinayak
    Yeah Vinayak i'm working on it.. its taking some time due to my office engagements.. will personally inform u wen its up..

  4. Vinayak
    March 9, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    @Anshul
    Ok will wait for your site to come
    you have a great site
    keep blogging

  5. Pooja
    March 9, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    Good info Anshul. Another country that has Union Jack in their country's flag is Tuvalu.

  6. Anshul
    March 10, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    Thanks for the information Pooja. I have updated the article to include it.

  7. Louise | Italy
    March 13, 2010 at 1:34 am #

    It's not the Union Jack, it's the Union Flag.

  8. Anshul
    March 13, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Hi Louise, if you could enlighten us what's the difference, that would be great… As far as I know, the flag is called Union Jack.

  9. ViJ@Y
    March 14, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    Hi aNSHUL..nicew post …actually first time visited your blog…..go through few older posts and found them really interesting…
    Will surely visit your blog again.

    till then keep blogging
    :)

  10. Brenda
    March 14, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    I never can remember what anyone's flag looks like, but this is interesting information. I wonder now about Canada

  11. Anshul
    March 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    @Brenda
    Canada too had Union Jack as their flag earlier but later they changed to the current one showing maple leaf.

    @ √ノフムリ
    Thanks for visiting. Hope you'll like future posts as well.

  12. Pooja Menon
    March 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    Lovely.. The most informative blog I have ever come across! Keep up the good work.. :)

  13. Malek Farkouh
    June 22, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    thank you a lot
    it is very kindness to share information with others.

  14. steven
    June 30, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    Still Use The Union Jack in there
    British Columbia Manitoba Ontario

  15. steven
    June 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    Union Jack still used by British Columbia
    Manitoba Ontario

    incase you like to know only
    Provincial Lieutenant-Governor's flags
    British Columbia Nova Scotia

  16. Juicy Couture
    August 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    Lovely.. The most informative blog I have ever come across! Keep up the good work.. :)

  17. Aamir shahzad
    November 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    very helpfull, Nice work

  18. Nilamber Joshi
    January 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    When i saw 2 flags together I had the same question , why are they similar? Thanks to this article , it has now got answered.

  19. cejo A
    January 27, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    .Grand cayman islands has union jack too as it is one of the British oversea territory.

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