Historical information

An ensign is a national flag used within a naval or military context. A naval ensign is usually required to be flown when entering and leaving harbour, when sailing through foreign waters, and when a ship is signalled to do so by a warship. They are also flown during battles and when the ensign is lowered, the ship is said to have surrendered.

This Victorian Naval Ensign was used by the Victorian Naval Contingent in the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. The contingent was led by Captain Frederick Tickell who had commanded the Victorian Naval Forces since 1897. In around 1901, Captain Tickell presented the ensign to Frederick Thomas Sargood [1834-1903] who had been Minister of Defence and Education for the Colony of Victoria and was a Senator in Federal Parliament.

In September 1986 the ensign was stolen from Parliament House. The suspect was described as a young man wearing 'a beret and bow tie' ("The Age" 26 September 1986). Fortunately the ensign was recovered a week later.

Physical description

Victorian Ensign wool flag with Union Jack, Southern Cross and crown emblem. Hand written ink inscription on white linen sleeve. Rope attached. Framed.

Inscriptions & markings

Handwritten black ink on flag header: "This Victorian Ensign (the first on active service) was used by the Victorian Contingent during service in 1900 in China. It was presented to Senator Sir F.T. Sargood K.C.M.G. by Captain Tickell C.M.B. Lieut. Col."