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08 March 2017

Flag begins its journey home

If this Union Jack could talk, what stories might it tell?

The well preserved flag was retrieved four years ago from storage at the Wangaratta Court House and returned to the Burke Museum.

After Federation in 1901, the Union Jack was no longer the flag of Australia, meaning this specimen is at least 116 years old, probably much older.

In fact there is some speculation that this flag flew above the Beechworth Court House in the mid-1800s, perhaps as early as the Kelly era and the height of the gold rush.

Union Jack conservation project
ABOVE: Collections manager Linda Peacock and Historic Precinct manager Patrick Watt discuss plans for the flag.

The President of the Friends of the Burke Museum, Mr Pat Doyle, says the flag is in remarkably good condition considering its age.

"The colour has not faded and the ends of the flag are not tattered in any way. It would have flown only when the court was in session and would not have flown overnight," Mr Doyle said.

Union Jack conservation project
ABOVE: The flag was labelled in ink for storage more than a century ago.

"Friends of the Burke are launching a Conservation Project to ensure the flag can be displayed without damage, and survive for at least another century."

Former Deputy PM Tim Fischer will talk about "Trains, Flags and Maestro Monash" at the launch of the project at the Old Town Hall in Ford Street Beechworth on Thursday 9 March. Entry is $10 for Friends of the Museum and $15 for non-members. The function starts at 6.30pm.


For further information:
Contact Patrick Watt, Manager Burke Museum and Historic Precinct
Phone 03 5728 8069, 0400 558 866