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Papua and New Guinea 1970-1971 (Australia)

Australian Trust Territory of Papua and New Guinea

Last modified: 2019-08-06 by ian macdonald
Keywords: papua and new guinea | new guinea | stars: 5 (white) | southern cross | stars: southern cross | bird of paradise |
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[Flag 1970-1971 (Papua New Guinea)] 2:3 image by Mark Sensen

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From the Flags of Paradise 1996 chart:

1970-1971: Australian Trust Territory: vertical triband, blue with white Crux Australis [southern cross], yellow, red with white paradise bird.
1971-1975: Australian Self Government: current national flag.
1975-: Independent state: current national flag.
(but Dorling Kindersley 1997 reports a golden paradise bird).
Ivan Sache (?)

Both Dorling Kindersley 1997 and Barraclough and Crampton 1981, page 213, report the stripes being blue, white and green, but the correct colours were: blue, yellow and green. Sources:

Mark Sensen, 14 August 2001

Barraclough and Crampton 1978 and 1981 state "In 1970 the Australian Administration tried to introduce another divided vertically: blue at the hoist with the stars of the Southern Cross as in the Australian flag, then white, then green with the yellow bird of paradise. This was never popular and the matter was left to the House of Assembly."
David Prothero, 24 November 2005

The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia (originally formed by retired public servants from the territorial administrations), has a page with an account from Geoff Littler, who was the Deputy Executive Officer of the House of Assembly's Select Committee on Constitutional Development at, published for the 30th anniversary of independence in 2005.

The committee called for public submissions regarding the flag, and Mr. Holman, an artist with the Dept of Information and Extension Services, designed a flag and emblem using the most popular colours and symbols - blue, gold, green, and birds, drums, spears and stars.

The flag, crest, and name 'Pagini' were presented to the House of Assembly on 17 November 1970 as a proposal which would be taken around the country for feedback. The symbolism of the flag was given as:

The BLUE represents the islands of our country and the sea, which surrounds them. The Cross lies above our whole country and guides our people in their travel on land and sea.
The GOLD represents the coastal areas of our country, its past and future mineral wealth and unity.
The GREEN represents the mainland and highland areas of our country and a Bird of Paradise, our unique bird, is turned towards the islands to represent one unified country.
The response to the flag was negative. Mr Littler says "Mostly they regarded the design as a mechanically contrived outcome designed by the Select Committee and not produced by a real person", and I think we can see what they meant. (Putting charges on the outer stripes and leaving the middle empty doesn't result in a unified flag.)

After touring the country, on 1 March the committee decided to instead recommend one of the alternative designs they had received, and, aided by a flag made by Pat Johnson, chose that of Susan Karike, who had used the now familiar diagonal arrangement and colours inspired by those used in traditional ceremonies. The flag was recommended to the House of Assembly on 4 March.

There's nothing in the account to suggest that the 1970 proposal was actually used.
Jonathan Dixon, 9 May 2012

The proposal was described as designed by Hal Holman. Some might be interested to read his own description of the process (and that of John Middleton) at Apart from the personal aspects of the recollection, it makes it quite clear that the 1970 flag was indeed treated only as a proposal.
Jonathan Dixon, 14 November 2015

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