City of Sydney Flag Removed as Australia Day Approaches

City of Sydney Flag Removed as Australia Day Approaches
Image: Dan Himbrechts, AAP Image

In the week leading up to Australia Day, the City of Sydney Council confiscated the Council’s traditional colonial-era flag from the office of a councillor, citing an 18-month-old review into the City’s emblems.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the flag “centres colonial maritime history, the impact of which is particularly poignant here in Sydney – the first site of invasion”, and doesn’t represent all that we are.

A City of Sydney spokesperson previously confirmed to City Hub that they are in the process of commissioning a review of emblems and symbols in the Sydney Town Hall “to ensure that they accurately reflect the City’s aspirations and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. ”

But the review into the council’s emblems and symbols was first approved 18 months ago, and has seemingly been forgotten – until now.

First Nations Councillor Yvonne Weldon told City Hub that these kinds of emblems “bears about as much relevance to our city community as Ferry McFerryface”, but also acknowledged the extended time since the review was first approved.

“The Lord Mayor promised to review the City’s symbols and emblems 18 months ago. It’s disappointing that little progress has been made,” she said.

The City of Sydney’s flag was reportedly taken from Liberal Councillor Lyndon Gannon’s office after it was spotted in his background during a Zoom meeting last month.

Cr Gannon told City Hub, “The motion passed was to review the symbols and ensure our indigenous people are represented in our multicultural city.

“This should be done, but hiding our current flag, which is the least offensive item, without a review having even begun yet, is disappointing.”

“Old histories should not be burned or town down, rather they should be challenged and complimented with new ones,” he continued.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the move was “outrageous” and a “massive over-reaction”.

A week from Australia Day, the Lord Mayor’s sudden move, though supported, has reiterated the need for progress into the review of the City’s symbols. With this January 26 the first since the failed referendum, the City’s actions for acknowledging Indigenous history will be more pertinent than ever.


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