Why the City of Sydney is paying for a British flag to fly near Circular Quay


Flynn told the Herald he thinks it is high time to move the memorial. “I hope Gary and I can pique the interest of City Council historian Dr Lisa Murray and Christine Yeats at RAHS to see if we can go further.


“There has been huge controversy surrounding Australia Day since 2015 due to Indigenous sensitivities around colonization. These sensitivities are of course understandable. We are not interested in glorifying or vilifying the landing and flag raising of January 26, 1788.

“I’m not suggesting moving the mast and having a Union Jack. I’m talking about having a plaque near the passenger terminal to announce that this is where the landings took place in 1788, but not to represent colonialism British or culture.

“It’s really more about the historical accuracy of a plaque on the right. The flag should fall.

Jon Fearon, president of the Fellowship of First Fleeters, said Queen Anne’s flag was the same as that of the first ships when they arrived. Of Loftus Street, he said: “We now know it’s in the wrong place. My opinion is that it is in the wrong place and should be near the Bethel Steps, this is the right place.

The Prime Minister and Cabinet Office said it had no record of the use of the Union Flag in New South Wales. “We administer the NSW State Flag program and can advise on flag flying protocols,” he said in a statement.

The City of Sydney said it maintains the flag and it remains flown year-round unless it needs to be replaced due to wear and tear.

He said the current location was determined by a Board of Inquiry formed in 1963 and made up of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Courts of NSW, the Surveyor General of NSW, a maritime historian and the Director of Parks .

The sandstone plinth, mast and flag were refurbished in 1988, and a new plaque was added to mark “the bicentenary of the founding of the colony of NSW”. The new plaque and flag memorial was unveiled by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir James Rowland, on January 26, 1988.

Christine Yeats, president of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies, said she always welcomes fresh debate over the disputed history.

“Let’s have another chance to discuss these findings to consider all the evidence around it,” she said.

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