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Learn about the flag

 

When you're visiting Parliament House, don't miss out on seeing Canberra's most recognisable landmark up close: the stainless steel flag mast with the Australian flag flying above Capital Hill.

The flag mast is the main focal point of the Parliamentary Triangle and you can walk directly under it when you explore Parliament House's grass roof. You can also see it from vantage points all around Canberra.

The design of the flag mast pays homage to Walter Burley Griffin's plan for a pyramidal Capitol building—a ceremonial public space that would celebrate the achievements of the Australian people—which he envisioned as the centrepiece to his design for Canberra.

Its apex, above the exact centre of Parliament House, marks the intersection between the building's 'law-making axis', on which the House of Representatives and Senate chambers are located, and its 'land axis', which runs from the forecourt and contains key public areas of the building as well as many of the major architectural commissions.

This intersection symbolises how the elements of Australian democracy—the people, the parliament and the government—are all brought together under one flag.

Changing the flag

Fourteen flags are rotated regularly so they wear evenly. It takes a team of three specially trained people from the Department of Parliamentary Services to raise and lower the flag. It is usually changed on the first Wednesday of the month.

 

Watch the video to learn more about the flag and how the team takes care of it.

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Frequently asked questions

 

How big is the flag?

The flag is 12.8 metres long and 6.4 metres high, which is about the same size as the side of a double-decker bus. It weighs 15 kilograms.

How often is it flown?

The flag is flown seven days a week and 24 hours a day—under the Australian national flag protocols, it can be flown at night because it is floodlit.

When is it flown at half mast?

The flag is flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning. The Commonwealth Flag Network provides half-masting messages and other nationally significant event announcements.

How big is the flag mast?

The flag mast is one of the largest stainless steel structures in the world. Constructed from polished Newcastle steel, it is 81 metres tall and weighs 220 tonnes.