The Men From Snowy River, 1916
This flag was carried on one of Australia’s many recruitment or “snowball” marches, named for the hope that they would gather men like a snowball rolling down a hill. The recruits that joined up with this particular snowball march were appropriately called “Snowies.”
The march started in Delegate, New South Wales on 6 January 1916. Three weeks and 350km later, 144 recruits arrived in Goulburn, 39 of which would die over the course of the war.
The flag is an interesting one, a British Red Ensign with an Australian Red Ensign tucked into its top-right corner. So you’ve got a quarter-size Union Jack right next to a tiny little sixteenth-size Union Jack. You can see an amazing photograph of the original on the Australian War Memorial’s website.
Several Commonwealth militaries have a tricolour flag that looks something like this. The red stripe stands for the army, the light blue stripe stands for the air force, and the dark blue stripe stands for the navy. Kenya’s version has the national flag in the top-left corner and a combined insignia of army, navy, and air force symbols on the fly.
Curiously, the ribbon on this image says “Kenya Armed Forces” instead of “Kenya Defence Forces”. I don’t know if it’s an old version of the flag or just a mistaken rendition or what.
After becoming President for Life in 1964, Papa Doc Duvalier discarded Haiti’s red and blue colours (first flown in 1803) in favour of the red and black used by Jean-Jacques Dessalines when he proclaimed himself Emperor in 1804. The flag remained in use until the end of the Duvalier dictatorship.
The Styrian flag is the only one I know of that features a panther. No, not the black jungle cat, the weird pale horned firebreathing goat creature of ancient legend. Those ancients sure came up with some weird shit.
This game is just making things hard for me
Tlicho, since 2005
The Tlicho are a First Nations people living in the Canadian Northwest Territories. Their autonomous government, established by the 2005 Tlicho Agreement, manages an area nearly as big as Switzerland with just 3000 residents.
They’ve got a great flag up their, and you can see a bunch of pictures of it on their government website. The four tents on the flag represent the four Tlicho communities. The sun and the waves represent the words of the Chief Monfwi when he signed Treaty No. 11:
This sun that rises, if it does not go back on itself, this Great River that flows, if it does not flow back on itself, on this land, we will not be restricted from our way of life.
For as long as this land shall last, it will be exactly as I have said.
The proper way to spell their name, by the way, is Tłı̨chǫ. Count yourself lucky if your computer rendered that properly.
Murrawarri Republic, since 2013
The Murrawarri people of Australia declared an independent republic earlier this month. I doubt we’re going to see a new country born any time soon, but we’ve at least gotten an interesting new flag out of it. The brown and blue stripes represent earth and sky, or the people and water. The white star represents ancestral spirits which return to the earth on shooting stars, and it has eight points for the eight Murrawarri clans.
Missing camp- the flags represent the nationalities of campers and staff
Ontario (unofficial), 1962-1965
When the Garden of the Provinces in Ottawa was opened in 1962, a set of unofficial flags were made to represent the country’s provinces and territories. Each flag had a provincial shield on a plain coloured background. The colours were arbitrary. Some were white, some red, some blue; PEI’s was green and Ontario’s was yellow. The flags soon spread beyond the garden and effectively became unofficial provincial flags.
Already in 1962 there were four provinces with flags of their own. By the end of the decade every province had one. But despite provincial reservations, the federal government continued flying the plain coloured flags until the mid 1970s. When Alberta finally adopted its flag in 1968 it just went with the plain blue flag from Ottawa, making it the last survivor of a weird and somewhat unloved group of Canadian flag designs.
An old flag of Edam-Volendam, The Netherlands. The bull and the foal are local emblems. Though this diagonally quartered flag was adopted in 1981, it was never used.
Samoa, since 1949
Samoa’s flag is based on the red ensign that was used during the British-administered League of Nations mandate. When the country became a UN Trust Territory after World War II, it replaced the British flag in the corner with a Southern Cross.
Even though all the overtly foreign symbols are gone, the colonial roots of the flag are still clearly visible. In recent years, opposition MPs have proposed changing the flag for this reason, but the idea hasn’t gotten much traction.