The flag consists of a defaced British Blue Ensign with the state badge located in the fly. The badge is a white disk with a red lion passant in the centre of the disk. There is no official record of how the lion came to be included on the flag. Where this design originated from is unknown, but it is assumed that the red lion is a link with England. This flag has remained almost unchanged since 1875, with only a slight change of the style of the lion when the flag was officially adopted by the government in 1975, although this was a mistake, as it had already been officially gazetted by the colonial government in 1876.
The first local flag of Tasmania was adopted by proclamation of Tasmanian colonial Governor Frederick Aloysius Weld on November 9, 1875. The flag had a white cross on a blue field, in the canton was the Union Flag, and in the fly was five five-pointed stars of the Southern Cross. The British Blue Ensign and Red Ensign (for use respectively by government vessels and by those privately owned) were to have a white cross added. At the fly end of each flag a Southern Cross was to be formed of white stars added above and below the horizontal arm of the cross. Two weeks later, on November 23, those flags were officially abandoned because Henry Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon, the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London made it clear that only a single badge could be placed at the fly end of the ensign, as set out by rule of the British Admiralty.
A year later the Tasmanian government decided, with the British Admiralty’s approval, that the badge for the colony would be a red lion on a white disk. Originally the lion was to be gold in colour, above a golden torse, which the new flag omitted in favour of a more traditional red.
A British Blue Ensign with the badge served Tasmanian government vessels, and privately owned vessels were to fly an un-defaced British Red Ensign. After Tasmania became a state on January 1, 1901, the Tasmanian Blue Ensign was rarely used, and was reserved for official purposes. Most vessels soon preferred to fly the Australian Red Ensign.
On December 3, 1975, a government proclamation by Governor Stanley Burbury, and endorsed by Premier Bill Neilson established it as the official Tasmanian flag, although it had technically already been 'officially' adopted when it was gazetted in 1876. Since that time it has been acceptable for private citizens to use the flag, although it is uncommon to see them doing so.
As with the Flag of Australia, the Union Flag is thought locally to symbolise Australia's history as six British colonies and the principles upon which the Australian Federation is based, Australian Flag Society although a more historic view sees its inclusion in the design as demonstrating loyalty to the British Empire.
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The Governor of Tasmania, being the representative of the Tasmanian head of state, the Queen of Australia, is officially granted a flag for use on all official occasions. It is identical in design and construction to the flag of Tasmania, except that it features a St. Edward's Crown above the badge to represent vice-regal power. When the Governor of Tasmania is resident at Government House it is flown from the roof, and it is also used as a car flag. The Governor of Tasmania's flag was officially adopted in February 1977 by an act of the Parliament of Tasmania.
The thylacine should replace the red lion of Tasmania's flag. There's nothing Tasmania about the flag. The design may have been relevant to the colony but it is irrelevant to Tasmania in 1987. The only lions ever to come here were in circuses. The Government's decision to hang on to the lion is out of keeping with the times - especially when the State is pushing its unique Tasmania image to the rest of the world and planning to give the Tasmania tiger prominence in tourism promotion.|The Tasmanian Flag. By Reg Watson
Despite this, there was no further action to change the flag. In fact Dr. Brown's call led to a backlash, with Reg Watson, the Public Relations Officer of the Australian National Flag Association (TAS) calling for an act of parliament to prevent the flag from being changed without the consent of the people through a referendum.
More recently, Ausflag has been vigourously prompting debate that all British symbolism should be removed from both the national and state flags. Other organisations, such as the Australian National Flag Association oppose this view. The Australian flag debate is often linked with Republicanism in Australia and the Australian Republican Movement, but the two are not mutually exclusive. Some people want the flag changed without a change of system of government.
One suggestion has been to change the Tasmanian flag to an alternative design which does not feature the Union Flag in the canton, but is rather more similar to the Australian territorial flags which feature a southern cross on the whole left side, and a localised symbol in the fly. A proposed design by Brendon Jones, featured , suggested a green map of Tasmania on a white fly, with the southern cross on the left in white, on a red background.
That the Government introduce Legislation to ensure that the Tasmanian Flag cannot be changed without the approval at a referendum or plebiscite. This means that no politician, no political party and no special interest group will be able to tamper with the design of our State flag.|The Tasmanian Flag. By Reg Watson
The motion was endorsed by both the Liberal and Labor Parties and passed, meaning the current flag will remain the vexilogical symbol of Tasmania for the foreseeable future.
|National and regional flags incorporating the Union Flag|
|Anguilla | Australia | Bermuda | British Antarctic Territory | British Columbia | British Indian Ocean Territory | British Virgin Islands | Canadian Red Ensign | Cayman Islands | Cook Islands | Falkland Islands | Fiji | Hawaii | Manitoba | Montserrat | New South Wales | New Zealand | Niue | Ontario | Pitcairn Islands | Queensland | Saint Helena | South Australia | South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands | Tasmania | Tristan da Cunha | Turks and Caicos Islands | Tuvalu | Victoria | Western Australia|