On the eve of National Flag Day, 3 September, a historic flag retirement ceremony took place at Northside Christian College. Joining the College’s students, staff and parents were Mr Tim Mander, Member for Everton, and Mr Allan Pidgeon, president of the Queensland branch of the National Flag Association.
Mrs Nedra Purnell, Head of Junior School, created the flag retirement protocol. In the ceremony, the Junior School captains cut the worn flag into its three symbolic elements: the Union Jack, the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross. The elements were folded and placed in a special container to be buried under the school’s flagstaff.
“When we replaced the flag, I researched how to dispose of an old flag and discovered Australia doesn’t have an official protocol,” says Mrs Purnell. “This prompted me to develop a new protocol.”
Through comprehensive research and consultation with Australia’s National Flag Association, she created a ceremony that is distinctly Australian, though it bears some similarities to the flag retirement protocol of the United States, which has a staunch history of flag reverence.
The new protocol will be presented to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for consideration to adopt nationally.