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FLAG BREAKING NEWS: Australian Flag Society discovers 2/23rd battalion Tarakan beach flag


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Flag Research Unit




Warwick Daily News, 22 August 2018 edition.





It wasn't until Ken Ashton saw the word 'Tarakan' written in red on a faded union jack that he realised he was holding in his hands a lost national treasure.


Frayed and inscribed using what is believed to be human blood, the flag showed up in Warwick yesterday after it was previously thought to be lost.


"It's incredible, I can't believe something like this still exists," Mr Ashton said.


President of the newly formed Southern Downs Ex-Service Association, Mr Ashton spends time surrounded by hundreds of flags that hang in the SDESA headquarters on Tooth St.


But this one, brought to Warwick by Australian Flag Society national convenor Nigel Morris, was particularly special.


"It should really be hanging behind glass," Mr Ashton said.


Mr Morris became acquainted with the historic flag through old photographs used in the Australian Flag Society's campaign to reintroduce a pause for the national salute in Australian schools.


Since the start of the year, the AFS has been lobbying schools in Warwick and the rest of the country to implement to old tradition in which students recite the words of the Australian national salute on National Flag Day, 3 September. But six months into the campaign, an interesting message came through on the AFS social media account.


A man who claimed to have the original flag offered to send it to the society.


From Ipswich, the donor said his uncle won the flag off an Australian commando in a card game after the battle of Tarakan.


Inspecting the military relic, Mr Morris said he believed it was genuine.


"I'm fairly knowledgeable about these things and I see a lot of similarities and no dissimilarities," he said.


The flag features the words 'Tarakan', 'Lingkas Beach' and '2nd/23rd battalion'.



The Australian flag belonging to the 2/23rd battalion as flown on Lingkas beach Tarakan has been discovered by the Australian Flag Society.

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Ipswich Central State School, Flag Day 2013. Pictured here is the giant parliament house flag which flew over Capitol Hill, Canberra on 3 September 2001.


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The Australian Flag Society was formed in 2001 to raise the level of civics awareness in the community. The funds of the society are dedicated to nationally based benevolent activities including:

  • Making civics education, vexillological and other resources available to organisations and the general public and considering all requests for grants of aid.

  • Due recognition of the Australian national flag and observance of Australian National Flag Day, 3 September.

  • Facilitating contact between supporters of the Society to discuss ways to promote the Australian national flag and patriotism in general.

  • Maintaining a general headquarters and preservation of the Society's collection.

  • Continuing to add to the body of knowledge through primary research.

Our vision for the future of Australian National Flag Day, 3 September is to see as many individuals, schools and organisations as possible joining in the spirit and patriotism of the anniversary with each local community forming committees to oversee annual combined school's carnivals and making the date a genuine flag day for door knock donation appeals for the benefit of wounded soldiers.


Click here to read an article about the origin and history of flag days for charity fundraising.




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