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Australian Naval Staff

Last modified: 2021-06-19 by ian macdonald
Keywords: australia | naval board | anchor | naval staff |
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Chief of Navy/(Former) Naval Board

[Flag of Chief of Naval Staff] image by Martin Grieve, 28 August 2002

According to Album 2000 the flag of the Chief of Naval Staff is crimson over dark blue, with a gold admiralty anchor with ropes. This flag was formerly the flag of the Australian Naval Board.
Željko Heimer, 5 February 2001 and Miles Li, 27 February 2002

They changed the titles recently from 'Chief of Naval / General / Air Staff' to 'Chief of Navy / Army / Air Force'.
Miles Li, 22 November 2003

In 1920, the Australian Naval Board Flag was to follow the general style of the Lord High Admiral or Admiralty Flag, of a yellow horizontal anchor on a red flag, but the Australian Government proposed either a white horizontal stockless anchor on a blue flag, or a yellow one on a red flag. The Admiralty wanted the flag to be divided horizontally red over blue, as this made it possible to construct a "family" of naval board flags. Canada's, as used until 1960, was divided diagonally, red to the hoist; New Zealand's is divided vertically, red to the hoist, and Union of South Africa's was to have been quartered diagonally. The Admiralty had no objection to a stockless anchor, but in the event a conventional anchor was chosen.
David Prothero, 25 Apr 2000

From memory, and a rough sketch, the appearance of the anchor is exactly the same as the anchor on the Defence Force Ensign, though it's hard to be sure if the proportions are the same.
Flag 1:2
Extreme width of anchor 2/3rds of the width of flag.
Extreme length of anchor, including the anchor ring which is in line with the shank, 1.8 times the width.
Anchor centred horizontally, with the arms in the fly of the flag. The chain, rectangular links, runs in a very shallow S, from the anchor ring towards the top of the flag, descends in front of the shank and disappears behind the lower fluke.

Incidentally the conventional drawing of a traditional anchor is, as the representation of a real anchor, unusable. To work, the stock, the bar across the top of the anchor, has to be at right angles to the arms, and should therefore be visible only as a small circle or square little wider than the width of the upright part of the anchor. I can think of only two instances in which the anchor is drawn in perspective to make this apparent; Canadian Jack, and Bangladesh Admirals' Flags.
David Prothero, 26 Apr 2000

The Army Ceremonial Manual (PDF) gives this flag two sizes: 91.5cm by 1.37m, and 15cm by 23cm. While the full-sized flag's given proportions of 2:3 does match other naval flag officers' rank flags, the Chief of Navy flag (formerly the Australian Naval Board flag), has traditionally had the proportions of 1:2 (as shown on the RAAF Manual of Ceremonial and a host of other publications, including Flags of All Nations [hms58], Admiralty Manual of Seamanship, and pre-1950s Jane's Fighting Ships [jfs]).
Miles Li, 10 November 2007

Between January 1921 and February 1976 this flag was included in the Naval Forces Regulations. This was an Australian civil law which is no longer in force. The regulation stated 'The Flag of the Naval Board is the Admiralty gold anchor on a red and blue field bisected horizontally, the top half red and the bottom half blue. The Flag of the Naval Board is to be saluted by firing fifteen guns, within the waters of the Commonwealth of Australia, on the same occasions as those on which the Admiralty Flag is saluted.' This second sentence about the fifteen-gun salute was removed in November 1970, and the remaining first sentence repealed in February 1976. With the Naval Board no longer in existence, this flag is now used as the personal flag of the Chief of Navy.

In the Naval Forces Regulations, the regulation dealing with this flag could be found at:
1921 version (assent date 31 December 1920; No 1); as regulation 23.
1926 version (assent date 22 December 1926; No 196); as regulation 19.
1935 version (assent date 11 December 1935; No 133); as regulation 20.
Amendment (assent date 14 November 1970; No 179) second sentence of regulation 20 repealed.
Amendment (assent date 5 February 1976; No 56) first sentence of regulation 20 repealed.
Jeff Thomson, 4 January 2021

Secretary, Department of the Navy (now obsolete)

[Secretary, Dept of Navy] image by Miles Li, 23 June 2004

The flag for the Secretary, Department of the Navy was as for the Australian Naval Board, but with borders all round (dark blue over crimson). (source: Flags Of All Nations 1958 [hms58])
Miles Li, 27 February 2002

According to FOAN Vol 2 [hms58], the (now obsolete) flag of Secretary, Department of the Navy (Australia) should have the proportions of 1:2.
Miles Li, 23 June 2004

Naval Officer Commanding: Car Flag

The Naval Officer Commanding's car flag is a forked pennant a la Commodore, but shorter and with the red ball replaced by a blue anchor of the type in the joint services flag.
Source: Album 2000
Željko Heimer, 5 February 2001

Rank Flags

A note to the flag of the Chief of Naval Staff in Album 2000 says that the Australian rank flags for Admiral to Commodore are the same as in the British Royal Navy.
Željko Heimer, 5 February 2001