Australian Red Ensign
Entrants in the Commonwealth Government’s flag competition were required to submit a design for use by Australia’s merchant shipping service and for naval or official use. The Government assigned the red ensign to the merchant fleet. Members of the public were encouraged to fly the red ensign on land and at sea., as the blue ensign was reserved for use by Government authorities. In February 1903 it was announced in the Commonwealth Government Gazette that King Edward VII had approved the design of the flag of Australia and a red ensign for merchant shipping.