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A proclamation which appeared in the Hobart Town Gazette on 25 September 1876, and accompanied by illustrations, officially proclaimed three flags for the colony of Tasmania. These flags were the Governor’s flag, the flag for Government vessels and the flag for merchant vessels.
For reasons unknown the proclamation was revoked soon after. However, the flag for Government vessels, the Blue Ensign with lion passant on a white shield or badge in the fly of the flag, was subsequently adopted for general State Government use, but was not officially gazetted until 3 December 1975.
There is no official record of the reason for using the lion. Lions have featured prominently in European heraldry for centuries, and it has been supposed that the lion symbolises the colony’s loyalty to Great Britain.
A Blue ensign with the proportions two by one consisting of a blue flag with the Union Jack occupying the upper quarter next to the staff with a lion passant red on a white shield in the fly.
A circular white ground with a diameter equal to three-sevenths of the breadth of the flag and positioned with its centre one-quarter of the length of the flag from the edge of the fly and on the line between the upper and lower quarters.
A red lion in the passant position fimbriated in black inside the white shield facing towards the staff.