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City of Willoughby (NSW, Australia)

Last modified: 2015-06-22 by ian macdonald
Keywords: australia | new south wales | willoughby | belt: leather | mural crown | waratah | christmas bell | red gum | apple gum | boronia |
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[City of Willougby] image by John Vaughan, 27 Jan 2005

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Description of the Flag

The flag of the City of Willoughby (in Northern Sydney), has the seal in the centre of a white field and two horizontal fairly dark green lines behind it. The seal is described here [link now broken], although in the flag, the outer circle containing the words is instead a solid dark green circle.
Observed: Outside council buildings on Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
Jonathan Dixon, 10 March 2001

The council site mentions that the flag was first flown 12 May 1990 and explains that the flowers in the emblem are:

  • WARATAH - Telopea speciosissima
  • CHRISTMAS BELL - Blandfordia grandiflora
  • SYDNEY RED GUM/APPLE GUM - Angophora costata
  • FLANNEL FLOWER - Actinotus helianthi
  • NATIVE ROSE - Boronia serrulata
(The 'native rose' is commonly called boronia.) Two of the significant pioneering industries of the area are represeted in the leather belt (tanning industry) and the mural crown (brickmaking), which is also explained as representing Willoughby's status as a city, which was granted in 1989.
Jonathan Dixon, 30 July 2001

The unique city design was proposed by local Vexillographer, John Vaughan in 1989. It features the wild flowers of Willoughby, versions of which have been used to represent the Willoughby district since 1867. The flag was adopted by Council in 1990. The green band encircling the flowers signifies the unity of purpose of the people of Willoughby. On 12 May 1990, during celebrations marking the granting of city status, the flag was officially "broken-out" by Mayor Noel Reidy in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales, Justice Murray Gleeson (standing-in for H E The Governor, Sir David Martin who was terminally ill). The two green, horizontal stripes, divide the flag into five bars representing the number of Wards in City the at the time. The red Civic or Mural Crown is an heraldic symbol representing city status of Willoughby which was previously a municipality. To encourage interest in the history and heritage of Willoughby and the important role of Local government, Council has issued the flag to all schools in the City. All residents are entitled to fly or display the flag of Willoughby. The Civic crown was officially added to the Willoughby crest at a meeting of Council in February 1990 though lively debate on the subject continued until October of that year. The crown consists of masonary or stones representing the imaginary wall surrounding and protecting the City.

References: North Shore Times, 6 Dec 1989, "Flag Man Plans for New City"
" 4 Apr 1990, "Flag's Trial Run"
" 15 Aug 1990, "Student's Raise The New Flag"
" 20 Oct 1990, "Crown Causes Council Chaos"
" 31 Oct 1990, "Crown has a place on Crest", Letter to Editor from John Vaughan
" 28 Nov 1990, "Castle in Round Table Debate"
Willoughby Legion Ex-Services Club News (journal) Aug/Sep 1990, "The Willoughby City Flag"
John Vaughan, 22 January 2004

According to the city council the buckle which appears on the crest - as does the designation "THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WILLOUGHBY" in block letters - does not appear on the stylised version of the seal which appears on the flag and whose symbolism and genesis is well documented above.
(1) Willoughby City Facts, City Flag, Fact Sheet No. 25 dated 11 August 2004. Willoughby City Library, Community Services Division, Willoughby City Library
(2) Willoughby City Facts, The Council Seal and Crest, Fact Sheet No. 6 dated 9 August 2004 (but also dated "2002). Willoughby City Library, Community Services Division, Willoughby City Library

Finally and non flag related, please note that the Willoughby City Council web site also reports that on in July 1999, Council adopted "a new graphic device to support and enhance the Council's Crest Logo and form the base of a cohesive branding program for the City". This appears extensively on the current web site, although the above referenced fact sheets are also listed as still current and available for download.
Colin Dobson, 14 February 2006