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The Southern Cross has been a part of Australia's First Nations cosmology for millennia. European voyagers in the late 15th century took it as a sign of divine blessing for their conquests. It was a symbol of rebellion after Eureka Stockade. Crux Australis forms part of the Australian national flag and is considered Australia's oldest symbol.

More on the Southern Cross

Eureka Stockade

In 1854 miners at Ballarat stood beneath a flag stitched with a Southern Cross as a symbol of freedom.

Sky stories

The southern night sky as seen by First Nations people and the crew of the Endeavour in 1770.

Charles Kingsford Smith crosses the Pacific

The Southern Cross makes a record-breaking flight from America to Australia in 1928.

Since 1823 the Southern Cross has appeared on the flags intended to represent Australia. Combined with the Union Jack on the National Colonial flag and the blue and red ensigns of 1903, it served as an emblem of loyalty and affiliation with the British crown.

Appearing alone on the Eureka flag of 1854, it represented rebellion and a more 'independent' spirit. Trade unions continue to use the Southern Cross in their fight for better conditions for Australian workers.

In our collection

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