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Van Dieman's Land Ensign(Australia)

Last modified: 2016-03-05 by ian macdonald
Keywords: australia | van diemans land | white ensign | southern cross | stars: southern cross |
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[Van Diemen's Land Ensign]
by Vincent Morley and Jonathan Dixon, 16 Apr 2005

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The blue and white striped British ensign with a red cross overall is described on the chart as the "Van Dieman's Land Ensign". I first reported the existence of this chart (by Edward Murphy, located in the State Library of Tasmania in Crux Australis Volume VI No1/25 in January 1990 following a visit to Tasmania. 

This is apparently an unofficial flag for merchant shipping in Tasmania prior to the adoption of official flags.  It appears to trace its origin to the NSW Merchant Flag, which first appeared on the Nicholson chart of 1832, together with the first record of the NSW Ensign (also known as the Australian ensign and the Federation flag).  This NSW Merchant flag is believed to be the historical origins of the Murray River Flag.  Other than the two Edward Murphy flag charts of the 1850's, there is no known historical record of the usage of the Van Dieman's Land ensign.
Ralph Kelly, 14 April 2003