The Night We Made the Flag

I have a new book out. It is my very first picture book.

It tells the story of how the Eureka Flag was made. The Eureka Flag is an important symbol in Australian history. It was the flag flown by Ballarat gold diggers in 1854 when they were rebelling against the government. It has become a symbol of democracy and free speech.

It is a fictional story. The makers of the flag have not been recorded, however there are legends within three families that certain women made it. I have written a story about how they might have done it. The book has lovely illustrations by Sebastian Ciaffaglione. You can see some of the pictures here. Click where it says Look Inside.

There are some facts that we know from the flag itself:
Cover of the book

  • It is huge (or at least it was, a lot of it has been cut off for souvenirs).
  • It is sewn by hand.
  • The white stars are made from lawn, which was what women made their petticoats from in those days.
  • There is a pin sewn into one of the seams.
  • There is a small M or W written on the flag near one of the stars.

I used these facts to make up a story about how the flag might have been made.

The flag is displayed at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. You can see a picture of the flag at the Gallery website. You can also read about the history of the rebellion and the flag. There is an entry in Wikipedia too.

7 responses to “The Night We Made the Flag

  1. Carole,
    I’ve just discovered your book and got a shiver up my spine when I saw it. Ann Duke is my Great Great Grandmother – my Grandmother, Ann Gaynor was a daughter of Ann Dukes fourth son George. Ann Duke went on to have 11 children and many of her descendants went on to have large families – so there are lots of children of the makers of the Eureka flag now in Australia!
    I would love to hear how you put your story together.

    Jill McCauley,WA

  2. Jill,
    I read about oral stories in three different families who all said their ancestor was one of the women who made the flag. It made sense to me that the men who took part in the Eureka rebellion and the men who wrote about it would overlook the women’s story of the making of the flag.
    I got my info about the flag from Val d’Angri who restored the flag and is THE expert on it (she is the descendant of Anastasia Withers). She said that the stars were made out of lawn which is what women made petticoats out of. I immediately thought, “Who donated their petticoat?”
    So I made up the story using the few facts that the flag itself tells us: the different sorts of material, the pin sewn into the hem and the M or W drawn on it in indelible pencil.
    Val has written a book about her work with the flag called The Eureka Flag: Our Starry Banner.
    My full bibliography is at

  3. Hi Carol
    I like Jill Mc Cauley am decended from the Gaynor line and Anne Duke(nee Gaynor)is the sister of my Great Grand Mother Elizabeth Gaynor. I also was excited when I read about the Eureka Flag and who made it. I have been researching my family history and this is all part of it. What I would like is to make contact with Jill re family connections to see if we can tie ourselves together. I would be grateful if you could pass my e-mail address onto her with my request for contact.
    Many Thanks. Rob Brereton. Victoria.

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