Westralia Free

Those crazy westralians. Telling us t’othersiders we would starve without them.

Plains of our pastures boundless,
Seas of our rainbow’d pearl,
Destiny is your breezes
Liberty’s flag unfurl!

That they supported the eastern car manufacturing with tariffs on coal and iron ore! That our cricket and rugby teams would be crap without Western Australian speed.

See its folds flung wide
And the challenge cried
“On to conquer ride,
“Wave o’er Westralia free!”

The same people who passed – yes passed – a referendum to secede from federation. Fortunately for Australia a colourful state has a colourful flag.


Oh wait no it doesn’t. Western Australia has this vexillogical dinosaur.

A boring old defaced Blue Ensign.

One of the amusing things in going into an Australian embassy overseas is the flags are displayed in federalist fashion. The national flag leading then all the states in order with the territories on the end. This means anyone coming in sees seven defaced blue ensigns and two very colourful flags – the territories.

Robert Ingpen designed the “Australia Pale” design with the NT flag. This is where the southern cross is on the staff with a dark background and the defaced area is of a lighter colour with a badge or emblem of some kind. Usually the badge is flora or fauna. The ACT has a similar style of flag.

This has become an Australian flag design motif. The flag below is by Brendan Jones.

It uses the Australia Pale design to give a colourful representation of Westralian sensibilities. I cannot think of anything more archaic than the use of the defaced blue ensign at the state level.

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AMPHIBIOUS
14 years ago

Oh the Black swan of trespass upon alien waters. The Constitution was skewed to give ’em a bloody railway line if they’d deign to join the Federation. And who t=d othey think payed for the Ord River – that they couldn’t do anything useful withit is yet another reason they should get down on their bended….

Yobbo
Yobbo
14 years ago

Who cares about the bloody flag. The important thing is, that if we seccede, we’d be free of all the freeloaders in the rest of the country.

They could make our flag a black and gold hammer and sickle for all I care.

amphibious
amphibious
14 years ago

Maybe those keeping this country prosperous & afloat (on CO2), the hard working, beery miners in the NW would prefer to secede from the SouthWest Socialist Duchy of latte sippers…?
As for the Hammer & Sickle symbol, neither would be appropriate for WA. The hammer is an engineer’s hammer (you know, from a factory – those museums where things were once made)and the sickle is the symbol of peasant agriculture, not mono-culture wheat, planted by oil powered machinery, grown with oil based fertiliser and harbested with oil powered machinery. Did I mention CO2?

steve at the pub
14 years ago

Wasn’t the referendum to secede from the commonwealth, and rejoin England?

amphibious
amphibious
14 years ago

No not to REJOIN Blighty (sic! a corruption of arabic meaning ‘wounded’ coz if you managed to get a big enough hole in the bod, you got out of whichever colonial hellhole the Nobs had sent you too, in your bright Red coat – great for target practice. I think it originated in Khartoum but was quickly taken up in the Indian Raj).
Had they not joined the Federation they would have remained a Colony like, err.. Diego Garcia, Falklands and … that’s about it.
Hey, you denizens of West NZ, you still have the option of joining Federation as per the preamble (most of the proponents wanted NZ in, they didn’t really give a rat’s about WA – and why would they!).
Once I would have opted for New Guinea (NO, not Papua-PNG – New Guinea but gutless Ming the Merciful allowed the Big Bung [as he ‘affectionately’ called him] Sukarno to have it as we had already enough darkies on our hands.)
Imagine an ANZUS army made up of Maoris, Highlanders and the urbanoids from some of the meaner inner city streets – Osama et al would run a mile, very very fast!

Guise
Guise
14 years ago

The referendum was to secede from reality and assume Western Australia’s rightful place as the actual location of Lilliput (the ‘half-arsed’ or Little-Endians) and Blefescu (the other lot). It passed but wasn’t ratified. The fantasy persists to this day. It has, therefore, lasted longer that the even less rational plan to set up the Goldfields as an independent state: see http://www.answers.com/topic/aurelia-australia

Andrew Reynolds
14 years ago

Who hoo – a comment of mine (oh, and Yobbo too) spurs a post on Troppo!
The simple facts are that, without all of the “othersiders” over here for the gold rush in 1900, we would not have joined the Federation at the start. The secession vote failed because the rest of you did not want us to go during the depression (worsened by the stupid tariff and monetary policies to try to support guess where) as you needed the gold and the British government hid behind the Statute of Westminster.
Get over the fantasy of NSW being the engine room of Australia – it has long been a sea anchor.
.
Amphibious – I am glad you are that as you seem to come from a State that has long been under water. Your reading of history is similarly watery.
A train line and a dam does not come close.

Guise
Guise
14 years ago

Oh, there is nothing quite so sad as a Sandgroper who never managed to escape the sand. And the heat. And the flies. Charlie Court taught them all to say WESTern Australia, chest puffed out with pride. Call it Godzone, as if someone else hadn’t already beaten you to the label, and tell everyone how wonderful it is whether they ask or not. Make sure you mention that Perth is the most isolated city in the world, and be sure that your voice has a note of pride in the claim when you say it. And whatever you do, don’t ask anyone in the steady stream still heading east just why they’re leaving, because you definitely won’t like the answers.

Guise managed to escape, and he ain’t going back. Not even in a box.

John Ryan
John Ryan
14 years ago

Yeah well it would be nice if the place was not so bloody boring,and had a govt that would tell the AFL to get their hands out of Taxpayers pockets,as there aint much room for both of them.
Come to WA where they can rabbit on over AFL for days on talkback,but not mention tion any national news,WA home of the braindead

Andrew Reynolds
14 years ago

Guise,
You might want to look at the figures on the “steady stream”. It is a rush in the opposite direction to the one you are imagining.
Personally, I worked in London for a long time, have lived in several other countries and visit the East regularly. I would choose no other place to live. If you want to imagine the East is the best, you may – just do not expect many who have actually lived here to agree with you.
:)

Guise
Guise
14 years ago

Andrew, I did live there. I grew up there. I have friends and family still there. And I am more or less obliged to go back there at regular intervals. But I escaped, and I have not once regretted it. I cannot imagine any circumstance in which I would voluntarily go back to WA to live.

And yes, there is a steady stream of interstate migrants heading west. For their own reasons. But there is still a steady stream heading east, too (in part as a response to the stream heading west). That the traffic heading to the sunset may slightly outnumber the traffic to the dawn – for the first time in … well, ever – is simply one of those random statistical anomalies. I’m sure WA is happy to lay its hands on all those people who couldn’t get a job in the rest of the country …

Yobbo
Yobbo
14 years ago

“Statistical Anomaly”? In case you haven’t read the news in the last 10 years or so, it’s because WA is booming.

amphibious
amphibious
14 years ago

Yeh, booming as in fulfilling the (previously) eschewed function of being the world’s (currently China) mine. No value added processing, that would take brains not brawn plus a hell of a lot of oil. Do you think the stuff lies on the surface for you to gather like daisies in the dew? I have no time for economists but anyone with basic arithmetic, or a $5 (chinese made…) calculator, could do the sums.
AR – Who do you think financed the pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie and why? Not to grow lawns or have the occassional shower but to try to alluviate the orebody. Really bright idea (a WA one if I could be bothered to check), send scarce coastal water to the middle of the deseet to wash away topsoil.
And what do you do currently, private bores (of ever increasing depth) to water suburban lawns depleting the meagre paleolithic water table.
(Actually i loved Perth and the SW, & the NW, I just don’t like Chauvanists of any description, esp ones unable to keep to the facts, oh wait that’s almost a definition of Chauvanist, from Maurice a believer that Isle d’France WAS France.

Andrew Reynolds
14 years ago

amphibious,
The WA government financed the pipeline by a loan raised in London – and you are right, it was to finance ore bodies, but is now used for farms and other towns along the way. Should we just leave the ore in the ground to satisfy you? What a brilliant concept.
As for Chauvinists – perhaps you should look a little closer to home. The failure to realise that industrial policy as governed from Canberra has held the whole nation back largely since federation is a fairly good example of inability to understand basic facts.
Is NSW really only Newcastle, Sydney & Wollongong?

amphibious
amphibious
14 years ago

AR – are you simply so (deservedly) uptight that you can’t read/comprehend what you ” you are right, it was to finance ore bodies” How does one ‘finance’ an ore body (is that like a corporate body – the ones[Melbourne] based who raised the pipeline finance, the WA government at the time being a bunch of 3rd & 4th sons, ne’er do well exiled to the other side of the dewseret in the hope that they expire or at lewast not come back to embarass their families)
The water was to wash away the soil – simple words, all but one single syllabled.
Dig the stuff out if you must but how about paying TAX – even Keating/Hawke succumbed to the blackmail “without tax exemption we can’t afford to mine gold!”
Puhhleeez.
Down with corporate welfare though would mean abandoning WA to the dolphin huggers and wine buts.

Yobbo
Yobbo
14 years ago

No value added processing, that would take brains not brawn plus a hell of a lot of oil.

As opposed to all the “value adding” done in the rest of Australia? Please.

Guise
Guise
14 years ago

Spot on, Yobbo: WA is no different to the rest of the country when it comes to purely one-dimensional industries. And AR is correct in identifying this as a failure of industry policy from way back. Chop it down, cut it off, or dig it up – that’s about as far as we’re prepared to go. Yet the real money these days comes from moving electrons and ideas, not physical objects and material resources. Strange but true. Criminal neglect of the education systems in all states and at all levels mean we are in no position to take advantage of this, and won’t be any time soon.

This is the black dimension to the boom: public coffers are awash, and common sense says that’s the time to pour money into ideas and people, so that when the boom ends – as they all do, inevitably – we might have generated sufficient intellectual capacity to keep things going. Instead we waste it on retiring debt, middle-class welfare, and plasma TVs.

Odd , isn’t it, that insofar as anyone has realised this, it’s the two states that used to be regarded as economic basket-cases. Queensland and Victoria have both made substantial investments in knowledge and creative industries, rather than just digging shit out of the ground and propping up 19th century industrial models. The NSW Government has no more of a clue about this than it does about anything else. And the WA Government looked like it had a clue for a while there, under Gallop, but they have gone back to just digging things up. As a result, they have managed to attract scads of people whose imagination extends no further than digging things up. What a wonderful place to live it will be in a few years time.

Yobbo
Yobbo
14 years ago

Or the simpler explanation: Digging things up is more profitable until there’s nothing left to dig up, then you can go onto other things.

You don’t need to “value add” when you can simply sell rocks.

Andrew Reynolds
14 years ago

Oh, dear, amphibious – was this the Melbourne that had just experienced a crash that raised the funds, or the one that, soon after, was screaming for industrial protection?
No – the funds were, as stated, borrowed by the WA government in London – nowhere else.
The reason for the gold tax exemption was simple, originally – it was to (partially) compensate for the absurd tariffs we had to pay to the East to keep you guys afloat. When the tariffs were being run down (finally) under Hawke in the 1980s the gold tax was removed.
Now, I can understand that you would get upset about having reality shoved in your face, but calm down, read a book (preferably WA history) and learn something.

amphibious
amphibious
14 years ago

A book of WA history? It’d be a pretty short book, even with lotsa big pictures.
A tariff is imposed on imports to protect a domestic enterprise (who cares about the consumer), a tax is on income earned.
How could a “WA gov” have raised money pre Federation? It didn’t exist. As above, ne’er do wells, black sheep and 3rd & 4th sons sent into exile, remittance men.
No change there then.

Ray
Ray
13 years ago

I think the “WESTern Australian” defaced Blue Ensign is great. Not much different to most other states but it’s a symbol of the state with a link to the past, even if it isn’t a lengthy past. It seems to me half of you felt like kicking West Aussies in the guts for being proud of where they’re from and what they like. I wonder if we had of seceded if the apparent hate would’ve been less or more?