Each of the six States and two Territories that make up Australia have certain emblems and flags that are unique to each state. Let us look at the state of Queensland, which happens to be my home state.
The original Flag of Queensland was accepted in 1865, when the colony of Queensland was in its infancy. Several changes have been made to the flag over the years. The modern day flag which was adopted in the early 1900’s, consists of the Union Jack in the corner, with a naval ensign on a white disc, overlayed by the Maltese cross and an Imperial Crown in the centre of the Maltese cross.
The Queensland Coat of Arms happens to be the oldest State Arms in Australia. The Coat of Arms symbolises the Queen’s constitutional authority of the state of Queensland. Primary industries take foremost position on the Arms, with rural activities such as wheat, sheep and sugar cane being represented. Mining is also included on the Arms with the inclusion of gold and quartz.
The motto on the Queensland Coat of Arms is Audax at Fidelis, which means “Bold but Faithful”. The “supporters” holding the coat of arms consist of a red deer which was introduced from the royal hers near London, and the majestic Brolga, one of Queensland’s most unique birds.
Queensland’s State Animal is the Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus). This charming marsupial is unique to Australia, and is found in many parts of Queensland. Being a marsupial, the Koala carries its young in its pouch. The Koala is protected in Queensland, and is considered to be at risk.
Queensland’s State Bird is the Brolga. Interestingly of the 14 known species of cranes, Brolgas (Grus rubicunda) are the only species native to Australia. They are found only along the coastal regions of the state, from Rockhampton to the Gulf of Carpentaria. These regal-like birds have a dance like gait, and stand more than a metre (1 yard) tall.
The Floral emblem of Queensland is the exotic Cooktown Orchid (Vappodes phalaenopsis) and lives in a variety of environs including mangroves, rainforests and swamps. Unfortunately it is considered rare in the wild due to over collection by commercial collectors, and is currently listed as vulnerable by the Environmental Protection Act. The colours of the Cooktown Orchid are truly magnificent, ranging from pink to mauve and lavender to purple. The plant often clings to tree trunks and feeds of the bark of trees.
The Marine emblem for Queensland is the Anemone Fish (Amphiprion akindynos) and was only proclaimed as the marine emblem for Queensland in 2005. This fish is unique in that it only has one life partner, and is very social. The Anemone Fish is found in different habitats such as lagoons and coral reefs, particularly in the Great Barrier Reef that runs almost the length of the eastern seaboard of Queensland. They often live in an around various Anemone, which basically host these fish. The fish are not affected by the stinging of the Anemone, so find this habitat very safe.
The official colour of Queensland is Maroon, and anyone who follows the State of Origin Football series each year, which is between New South Wales and Queensland, will know that the Queensland team is called the Maroons.
The final emblem of Queensland is the state gem, and it is the beautiful Sapphire, that is found in abundance throughout the state. There is even a town called Sapphire that is named for its profusion of the gemstone in the surroundings.