PM invited to 'flood flag' unveiling
THE Australian flag recovered from floodwaters in the aftermath of the January floods will be officially unveiled as part of National Flag Day celebrations on Saturday, September 3.
At yesterday’s meeting of Lockyer Valley Regional Council, councillors agreed to participate in the event and to display the Grantham “flood flag” in the Lockyer Cultural Centre.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who presented the flag to Lockyer Valley mayor Steve Jones in June, will be invited to the ceremony.
Cr Jim McDonald said people at Grantham were enthusiastic about flying the national flag following the disaster that struck their community in January.
“The Australian flag became so important for people after the floods,” he said.
“This will be a wonderful opportunity to follow on from that time and to demonstrate our national pride.”
Cr McDonald said the flag became a symbol of hope for the people of Grantham and the Lockyer Valley after the floods, when they had little else.
Lockyer Valley deputy mayor Graham Moon suggested the Prime Minister be invited to attend the occasion.
“After all, she was the one who presented it back to our mayor in Canberra for return to the Lockyer Valley,” he said.
Following the floods, the flag was presented to Ms Gillard by a Blackhawk helicopter crew who were operating in the Valley.
Ms Gillard then presented the flag to Cr Jones in a ceremony in Canberra later in the year.
While the flag was taken from Grantham after the floods, it will, at least initially, hang in Gatton.
The prospect of moving the flag back to Grantham was mentioned in Tuesday’s council meeting but no final decision was made beyond the initial hanging.
Cr Jones said he hoped the flag would remain on display to remind people of the January tragedy and as a tribute to the people who lost their lives during the flooding.
While September 3 is also the day of the Lockyer Multicultural Festival, councillors agreed to conduct the Grantham flag unveiling ceremony earlier in the day so as not to impact on the festival.
Cr Moon said the National Flag Day committee was keen to focus on the Lockyer event as the keynote Queensland ceremony, as well as making it the centre of their national promotion. National Flag Day is now in its 110th year and is held to commemorate the day in 1901 when the Australian flag was first flown.