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City of Wollongong (NSW, Australia)

Last modified: 2016-03-14 by ian macdonald
Keywords: wollongong | stars: southern cross | southern cross | stars: orion | orion | cross: red fimbriated white | diagonal: ascending (yellow) |
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According to Wikipedia, Wollongong City Council is a local government area covering the northern and central suburbs of Wollongong, the 3rd largest city in the state of New South Wales, after Sydney and Newcastle. It is located in the Illawarra region of the east coast of Australia, 82 kilometres south of Sydney. The City of Wollongong has an area of 684 square kilometres, with 181912 people counted in the area in the 2001 Census. The name Wollongong is believed to mean "sound of the sea" in the local Aboriginal language, although other explanations have been offered, such as "great feast of fish".
Valentin Poposki, 9 June 2008

Description of the Flag

On page 5 of the 60 stories for 60 years PDF document on the city website, the city coat of arms, flag and logo are presented:

"In 1981 Wollongong Broadcasting Pty Limited (Station 2WL) promoted a competition for a Wollongong Flag which was sponsored by the then Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac).

A panel of judges chose the entry of local citizen, Mr John Mulhall of Cringila, which was modified to its present version.

Incorporated in Flag design are:

  • The City of Wollongong's Motto - The City between the sea and the mountain
  • The City's official colours - Blue and Gold (Blue of the sea - Gold of the sands)

Interpretation of Flag Design:
The blue top section represents the blue skies over Wollongong, the dividing diagonal strip represents the golden coastline of the area and the wealth of the land and blue at base represent the ocean.

An adaptation of the City's Crest, which also incorporates some features of the Coat of Arms of the State of New South Wales features the stars of the Southern Cross placed in the centre on a red cross. Stars on the bottom represent the constellation Orion which is at its brightest over Wollongong. (sic) It is the only flag on which two constellations are represented."

The image of the flag clearly shows that the flag in a photo on the Illabunda Ski Lodge site is either showing the reverse or the photo is mirrored.
Valentin Poposki, 9 June 2008

Quite a few years ago, a photocopied article was given out at a Flag Society of Australia meeting. The article is from Ports of New South Wales, June 1982 Volume 4, No 1. and is entitled A Flag of her own - Wollongong.

The article tells us that the City recieved its own official flag in March of that year. It also gives some more detail of the symbolism. The diagonal gold strip is wavy to imply the movement of the sea. The constellation Orion, in the lower fly, was included to symbolise the adoption by the City of the HMAS Orion, and the fact it is a navigational aid for ships and is always visible over Wollongong (more accurate than the more recent explanation!)

The article states that the adaption of the coat of arms has been part of the "crest" since 1947, although the document Valentin referred to says the arms date from 1948. The arms are fairly complex, with the quarters displaying scenes of loggers, farming, shipping and industry. The simplificationon the flag retains only the red cross fimbriated white on blue, carrying four eight pointed stars (features shared with not only the NSW arms but many Australian arms). While the stars are gold in the arms, they appear to be white on the flag.

As for the competition, it was a Golden Jubilee Year contribution to the City and attracted nearly 300 entries, most of which contained the City arms in some form. The judges were Mrs Heather Oldroyd (for the City Council), the vexillologist Mr John Vaughan (for the bank), Mr Peter Hilton (Australian Iron and Steel Pty Ltd), Mr Gordon Worland (Illawarra Historical Society) and Mr Brian Surtees (the radio station). They chose Mr Mulhall's entry unanimously as the closest to what was wanted in the City Flag. The prize was $1000.

His original design had the two halves of hte flag in blue and green (presumably the green was in the lower fly representing land), and the full "crest" in the upper hoist. The Council representative suggested that the colour be simply blue and gold, the official colours of the city. It is not clear whether the wavy nature of the gold strip was in the oriignal design, but the simplification of the arms and the addition of Orion also occurred after the judging.

The new flag was manufactured by the Australiana Flag Company (John Vaughan's company) and presented as part of the anniversary celebrations for a landing by George Bass and Matthew Flinders in 1797. Jonathan Dixon, 8 December 2008

This flag is flown by several businesses in the Wollongong area, so is definitely in use, and not just by the council.
Jonathan Dixon, 29 December 2008