Tasmanian Flag

The Tasmanian Flag is, like the Australian flag, a modified or defaced British blue ensign. In proportion one to two with the Union Jack in the upper left quarter, it has a red lion passant fimbriated and facing the staff on a white disc centred on the quarter line from the right edge and the centre horizontal line on the right or in the fly.

The first flag flown in Tasmania was the Dutch flag of Abel Tasman in 1642. The Union Jack was raised at Risdon Cove in 1803. The anti-transportation flag of 1851, held in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, was based on a design by John West, and has the Union Jack, the Southern Cross on the blue ground and a white border.

Tasmania gained responsible government in 1856. In 1869 the Tasmanian flag first appeared as the Tasmanian governor's flag, in compliance with an order from Queen Victoria. On 9 November 1875, the Prince of Wales' birthday holiday, a new Tasmanian flag with Union Jack, white cross and stars was hoisted. News came within weeks that this design did not comply with British Admiralty rules. Governor Weld proclaimed the 1869 governor's flag as Tasmania's flag in September 1876. However, it was not officially recognised by the state until 1975 when proclaimed by Governor Burbury and endorsed by Premier Neilson.

In 1987 Bob Brown suggested the lion be replaced by a thylacine, leading to a motion being passed in 1997 that the flag not be changed except by referendum or plebiscite. The state governor uses the Tasmanian Flag with a Royal Crown above the lion.

Alison Melrose