Gavin R. Putland,  BE PhD

Sunday, January 11, 1998 (Comment)

Flag designs, kangaroo theme

Flag image

Four of the following designs were submitted to the 1993 Ausflag Australian Flag Competition. See also my Southern Cross designs.

National Flag and Ensign:

Flag image

Bounding kangaroo, framed by sinking sun, in Aboriginal colours.
Submitted September 28, 1993.

Military Flag and Ensign:

Flag image

The same geometry in less realistic, more traditional colours.
Submitted September 30, 1993.

Air Force Flag:

Flag image

The same geometry in colours matching the Air Force roundel.
Not entered in competition.
© Gavin R. Putland, December 23, 1997.

Naval Ensign (Option 1):

Flag image

The same geometry permits a reduction to two colours.
Not entered in competition.
© Gavin R. Putland, December 23, 1997.

Naval Ensign (Option 2):

Flag image

Not entered in competition.
© Gavin R. Putland, December 23, 1997.

Sports Flag:

Flag image

The first two-colour version.
Submitted September 30, 1993.

Geometric description

Let the flag be 100 units high and 150 units long. Let each point on the flag be represented by the coordinates (x,y), where x is the distance from the left (pole) edge, and y is the distance from the bottom edge; that is, let (x,y) be Cartesian coordinates with the origin at the bottom left corner.

Then the sun is a truncated ellipse with the parameters

Centre:                    (75,29)
Major axis (horizontal):   138 units
Minor axis (vertical):     132 units
Truncation (horizon):      y = 11 ,

and the kangaroo is a polygon with 76 vertices, of which the coordinates (not listed here) are whole numbers.

Evolution of the concept

Flag image

First competition entry.
Submitted September 25, 1993.

This was the ancestor of the above designs. The sun was introduced as a means of improving the contrast. A sinking sun would match the proportions of the kangaroo and the background, enclosing the largest possible kangaroo. Complete enclosure of the kangaroo would maximize the contrast and allow the reduction to two colours, e.g. green and gold.


I use my real name on the internet. Critics who send recycled arguments under assumed names from fly-by-night email accounts will not be dignified with any response. War veterans who claim to have fought “for the Flag” will be respectfully asked whether, if 51% of the Australian people were to vote for a new National Flag, the other 49% would be justified in taking up arms to defend the old one.


The earliest implementation of the “Roo in the Sun” concept is apparently due to Harold Scruby of Ausflag, circa 1986. Mr Scruby's design differs from my 1993 National Flag design in that

  • the sun is a full circle,
  • the feet and tail of the kangaroo extend outside the circle, so that a reduction to two colours is not possible, and
  • the kangaroo is in a more extended pose.

The two designs are independent; I first saw the Scruby design in 1997, on Ausflag's “Flag Concepts” page.

The kangaroo outline used in the 1993 competition entries was based on one found in an earlier Ausflag design (not involving the sun), which I modified in an unsuccessful attempt to give a greater impression of speed. The 76-vertex polygon used in this WWW edition was influenced by various published images but is not a copy of any one of them.

The sinking sun used in the 1993 competition entries was a truncated circle. The elliptical shape used in this WWW edition depicts the effect of atmospheric refraction and, more importantly, allows the kangaroo to be made slightly larger and higher.

Page history

Text and graphics first published: Jan.11, 1998. Relocated: Aug.29, 2004. Converted to web-safe colours: August 2006. Relocated with updated links: Jul.5, 2009. Relocated Jul.5, 2012.

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