Van Diemen’s Land Ensign
1850’s

Van Diemen’s Land Ensign
1850’s

In a flag chart dated 1844 called Murphy’s Signals of Hobart Town’. The work was the drawings of Private Edward Murphy a soldier of 99th Regiment of Foot as well as a part time artist. It is an unusual piece of artwork representing flags in a half circle. One of the flags drawn and coloured is called the V D L Ensign.
The flag is described is a defaced Cross of Saint George with the Union Flag in the canton. Across the field in each 2,3,4 quarter are six alternate blue and White parallel fesse (stripes). The ensign is thought to be based on the design of the East India Company.

It appears to trace its origin to the NSW Merchant Flag, which first appeared on the Nicholson chart of 1832, together with the first record of the NSW Ensign also known as the Australian Ensign and the Federation flag.

The official flag for ships in the British Empire was the red duster the British red ensign.
The Van Diemen’s Land ensign was very much an unofficial flag, just for small ships, coastal areas, Hobart and presumably Launceston. If a ship was travelling interstate, they would have been required to fly the red ensign.

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