Australian Natives’ Association Flag
Australian Natives’ Association Flag (2017.55)
This flag was donated to the EGHS in July 1962 by Mr Pat McMorrow. It was handmade for the Bulong Branch of the ANA by Mr Robert Morrison Benson, whose occupation was a flag maker and roper.
There are a few hints about the age of the flag - one is that Mr. Benson left Bulong in approximately 1903, moving to Perth. The second is the number of points on the Commonwealth star (under the Union Jack). This star only has six points. The Australian flag’s design was changed in 1908 and a seventh point was added to the Commonwealth Star to include the territories of the Commonwealth. The incorrect placement of the five stars of the Southern Cross which are also five pointed - is also telling.
This flag connecting Bulong and the ANA is the only known flag to exist. The Australian Natives’ Association (ANA) was founded in Melbourne in 1871 with the name of Victorian Natives’ Society. It was dedicated to promoting Australia’s welfare and advancement, and providing mutual aid for members in times of illness and distress.
Membership, initially restricted to Victorian-born white males of at least 16 years of age, was extended in 1872 to native-born males of the same age from all Australian colonies, and the organization’s name was changed to Australian Natives Association (though ironically still barring the native people of Australia).
The Bulong Branch was formed in 1896 and was the 13th Branch to be opened in Western Australia. The Branch met fortnightly on Monday nights at Brewers Hall in Bulong. In 1899 the Branch reported that it had 70 members on its roll.
The achievement of Federation became Association policy in 1883. Many of the proposals put forward at the ANA intercolonial conference in 1890 were embodied in the Federal Constitution and consequently the ANA had a very significant role in the Federation of Australia in 1900.