The Coral Sea Islands are an expansive collection of sandy, mostly uninhabited islets off the coast of Australia. These islands are considered a territory of Australia. As such, the official flag of the Coral Sea Islands is that of it’s parent country, Australia.
The Australian flag is largely based on the British Flag. This is due to Australia’s long history with the European Nation, when the land was claimed by the British Empire in in 1770. The first British settlements were established as penal colonies and, as such, were populated largely by British convicts sent to work of their debt to society. While the British originally claimed only the Eastern portion of the continent, conflict and disease vastly reduced the native population and the European settlements quickly expanded. In 1901 the five largest colonies federated to form the Australian Commonwealth.
The design of the flag reflects this national history. It features the Red and White Union Jack of Great Britain’s flag while simultaneously incorporating six white stars on a field of blue.
The largest of these stars, below the Union Jack, is the seven pointed Common Wealth Star, symbolizing Australia’s government. Five more white stars are grouped to the side, evoking the well known Southern Cross constellation.
The flag’s design was chosen in 1901 based on the results of a nation wide competition. Several attempts were made before official federation to create a unique national flag for Australia but none caught on. These include the National Colonial Flag, depicting a Union Jack on a white field with a large red cross and four white stars. The Australian Federation Flag is similar but depicts a blue cross and five stars. The Eureka Flag is dark blue and dispenses with the Union Jack, featuring only a white cross and five white stars.
The Coral Sea Islands are also home to an unrecognized micro-nation, calling itself the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands. Established on June 14 of 2004, it produced a Declaration of Independence and Constitution as well as it’s own flag. This combines the official Australian Flag with the rainbow colored flag associated with the LGBTQ movement.
The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was founded as a response to the Australian Government’s refusal to legally acknowledge the rights of same-sex couples. This is largely a political gesture, however, and the islands remain mostly uninhabited.