Proper Protocols for Flying the Australian National Flag


When the flag of a country is displayed, there are usually rules for how it is to be hung, when it should be at half-mast, and where it can be displayed. Each country has its own set of rules, with some being stricter than others. Here are some of the protocols for displaying the flag of Australia.

How to Fly the Flag

When flying the flag on a flagpole, it should be raised in a brisk manner and then, when it is time to come down, lowered in a ceremonial style. The flag shouldn’t be raised before dawn and it shouldn’t stay up after it gets dark, unless the flag is illuminated. Whomever is there to raise it should face the flag, and if they are in military uniform, they must salute the flag.

With Other Flags

If there are other flags being raised with the federal flag, the national flag should be raised first and lowered last at night. Ideally, no other flags should be flown on the same flagpole, but if there is only one pole, the Australian National Flag should be raised first, then flags of other nations if appropriate, state or territory flags, and lastly, other Australian flags as prescribed by the Flags Act of 1953, ensigns, and pennants.

When Flags Get Old

If you are unsure what to do with a flag which has faded or become tattered, you can contact the Australian Flag Association to learn what to do with it. Allan Pidgeon from Brisbane is the president of the association, which was created to increase appreciation of the flag and promote its celebration on Flag Day, which is September 3rd. That specific day was designated because it was the first day that the new federal flag was flown in 1901.

When a flag starts to get old, it should not be flown if it shows signs of fading, dilapidation, or damage. As the material of an old flag deteriorates, it should be destroyed privately and with dignity. For example, you could cut the flag into small pieces and then place them in a garbage bin to be collected and thrown away.

Flying at Half-mast

The only time the national flag shouldn’t be raised to the very top of the flagpole is when it is to be flown at half-mast. This is usually done as a sign of mourning and, if it is to be done nationally, an announcement will be made by the government. The flag should be placed at half-mast no matter the size of the flag.

A half-mast position would be approximately one third of the way down the flagpole from the top. Flags can be put at half-mast locally when someone within the local community dies or on the day of their funeral. A flag shouldn’t ever be flown upside down, even when it is meant to be a sign of distress.

There are many protocols to adhere to when you want to properly fly the national flag in front of a business, school, or at home.