Daily Archives: May 19, 2010

Feeling patriotic?

Look at what you can buy at Aldi this week.

If you feel the need to wrap yourself in the flag- then this is for you! It’s a Body Cape Flag

Here’s the caption:

  • with sleeves for easy wearing
  • lightweight
  • choose from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or England

So, if you’re heading down to Cronulla or feel like a bit of Commonwealth rivalry, with the handy sleeve feature  there’s no need to clutch the flag around you to stop it falling off.  Both your hands are now unencumbered so let the flag fly free!

Actually, have I told you yet that I own the flag? Well, not me- my family.  And not really. In a book called Flag and Nation, Elizabeth Kwan writes about the 1901 Commonwealth government competition to design the flag. The judges chose a similar design submitted separately by five entrants: Annie Dorrington from Perth, Ivor Evans and Egbert Nuttall of Melbourne, Leslie Hawkins of Sydney and William Stevens of Auckland.  So that was the real flag.   But there were complaints that the Commonwealth star was too big in the winning design, and besides,  William Lumley of Melbourne had submitted another design (that looks pretty much the same to me)  that foreshadowed the white ensign that would be chosen by the Royal Australian navy 60 years later.   And that William Lumley is my great-grandfather!!!

Kwan writes:

William Lumley’s design for the 1901 flag competition foreshadowed the Australian white ensign of 1967. His modified design, filling the large ’empty’ Commonwealth Star flew at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 2 January 1902 for the England-Australia Test. (p.23)

Ah, but did he?? A Nation’s Imagination: Australia’s Copyright Records has this listing:

W H Lumley, drawings (red, white and blue) for an Australian
Federal flag, 1901

Lumley registered his designs in each colony. They are
sketches of the winning flag design rendered on red, white
and blue grounds. Lumley was not one of the competition
winners but a ‘Business Broker‘ for Mr W G Lampard. (p.66)

Lampard? Who’s Lampard? Is my great-grandfather (gulp!) a plagiarist or appropriator? Should an aspiring historian confess to such a forebear?  I must admit that ‘business broker’ makes sense as the family has spawned several entrepreneurs and businessmen- a gene that skipped over me, I’m afraid.  And to be fair, there was absolutely no family lore at all about the flag design which one might have expected had there been an overlooked flag-designer in the family.  When Elizabeth Kwan contacted the family about it, it was certainly news to us.

But, never one to let the facts stand in the way of a good story (and an aspiring historian certainly shouldn’t confess to that!) as the great grand-daughter of the man who probably submitted the designs on another’s behalf,  I think I’m close enough to owning the flag.  The 1902 Test Cricket match seals it.  Therefore, I think that I’m entitled to a cut of the – let’s see…- $4.99 purchase price.  I’ll let you know how I spend the millions in royalties.