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Australian flag home from World Trade Centre

10 SEPTEMBER 2004

An Australian flag retrieved from the ruins of the World Trade Centre following the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 will be unveiled today at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

Intact but soiled, crumpled and with minor tears, the 120 by 178 cm flag was discovered in the basement of World Trade Centre Three, which was destroyed by falling debris from the collapse of Towers One and Two.

Nine Australians were among the 2,729 people who perished in the New York terrorist attacks and an Australian was killed that tragic day in Washington. The Museum intends to list their names next to the flag when, after conservation treatment, it is exhibited in the Museum's refurbished permanent gallery, Nation: Symbols of Australia.

"The flag is a sad symbol of a terrible event which shocked the world," said National Museum director Craddock Morton. "Although associated with such pain and suffering it will become an important object in the National Historical Collection and the Museum has the expertise to conserve the flag and display it appropriately."

WHAT: World Trade Centre flag display

WHEN: 11am today, 10 September 2004

WHERE: Hall, National Museum of Australia

WHO: National Museum director Craddock Morton and conservator Eric Archer

The New York Police Department presented the flag last month to Australia's Consul-General in New York, Ken Allen, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, requested that it be delivered to Australia for conservation and display.

NYPD believe the flag may have been used for ceremonial purposes in the World Trade Centre Three's 22-storey Marriott Hotel which was destroyed in the attack.

The flag will be on temporary display until Thursday September 16.

For images of flag, interviews and more information please contact public affairs director Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or m.portus@nma.gov.au