Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, is a small, beautiful locale, 135 square kilometers (52 square miles) of land bordered by cliffs. Most of the island is tropical rain forest. It has only had its own flag to represent itself since 1986. The 2,072 people who call this island home see this flag waving from flagpoles and printed on objects, such as soccer balls, jerseys, and towels.
The Territory of Christmas Island was named in 1643 as a British captain sailed past it on his shipping voyage on Christmas Day. Several further attempts to explore the island occurred over the next century. The island was found to be uninhabited and was not settled until the 1800s, when the British opened phosphate mines on the land. Several countries, including Britain, Japan, and Singapore, fought over Christmas Island for many years, but Australia gained sovereignty over the territory in 1958. At this time, the Australian flag was the one that presided at government buildings and patriotic events.
In 1986, a flag design competition was held to decide on the flag for Christmas Island. Tony Couch, a resident of the island, won $100 for having the best design. In 2002, on Australia Day, Couch’s idea was officially instated as the flag for the territory.
The background of the Christmas Island flag is made up of two equal sized triangles, one green and one blue, divided by a diagonal line. The blue triangle represents sea around the island and the green stands for the plant life that permeates the territory.
Within the blue triangle, the Southern Cross is depicted just as it is on the Australian flag. This symbolizes the relationship between the two islands and the bonds that they share. Within the green triangle is the Golden Bosun Bird. This is a bird, native and unique to Christmas Island, one of the island’s most popular symbols.
Directly in the middle of the Christmas Island flag is a yellow circle, representative of the territory’s phosphate mining history that spurred the habitation of the land. Inside the circle, is a map of the island itself, a unique shape that residents would recognize and cherish.