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French Austral and Antarctic Territories

Terres australes et antarctiques françaises (TAAF)

Last modified: 2003-08-21 by
Keywords: antarctica | france | terres australes et antarctiques francaises | kerguelen | taaf | new amsterdam | crozet | st. paul | terre adelie | stars: 3 (white) | anchor (white) |
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Tricoloreby Zeljko Heimer

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Presentation of French Austral and Antarctic Territories

Official name: Terres australes et antarctiques françaises.

A French territory with a special administrative status, the "TAAF" are composed of 4 districts:

Source: Quid

Herman De Waël, 12 October 1997

Flag of the Senior Administrator

[Senior Administrator]by Pierre Gay

The only specific flag of TAAF is in fact the flag of the Senior Administrator.
A Territorial decree of 20 October 1956 divided the territory into four districts:

Shortly after he took office, the first Senior Administrator (M. Richert, who was Administrator of Overseas France, and wore three stars on his uniform, like a Vice-Admiral), adopted a personal flag. It was of the same model as those used by the old Governors of Colonies and High Commissioners of Overseas Territories, i.e. royal blue with a Tricolour in the canton. Also in the fly the letters TAAF arranged in the shape of an anchor, in white, and accompanied by three white stars. This device was retained by the Senior Administrators who succeeded him.
It can be seen, in part, in a photo in Paris-Match of 9 May 1964 (# 787) taken during the visit of M. Louis Jacquinot to the Kerguelen Islands. It was hoisted on any building or vessel when the Senior Administrator was on board. A copy given to the TAAF headquarters is 70 cm broad and 84 cm long, and the emblem is 22 cm high, the width of the letter T being 18 cm. The Secretary General, assistant to the Senior Administrator, does not have any special emblem.

Mario Fabretto, 25 September 1998

Coat of arms

[Coat of arms]by Pascal Vagnat

The arms of the TAAF were created by Miss Suzanne Gauthier, who sent the original drawing to SPADEM on 4 September 1958 in order to have it registered. The quartered shield symbolizes the four districts of the Territory.

Source: A letter dated 28 October 1981 from Miss Gauthier to Lucien Philippe published in Flagmaster [flm] # 38 (1/11/1982). In the same letter Miss Gauthier informed Philippe that it was Mr Richert who had asked for a draft of the arms of the Territory, setting out the elements which ought to be included, particularly the three white stars which appeared on his personal flag.

Mario Fabretto, 25 September 1998 

According to Roman Klimes [klm87], the shield is quartered azure and argent. However, Klimes shows it azure and or in his image. The shield is also azure and or on a post stamp of the TAAF on which it is depicted in colours.

The four quarters of the coat of arms stand for the four districts of the territory:

  1. a silver Kerguelen cabbage - for Kerguelen The Kerguelen cabbage is endemic to these islands, i.e. it does not grow anywhere else in the world;
  2. a black lobster - for New Amsterdam and St. Paul;
  3. the head and neck of a royal penguin sable and argent crowned or - for Crozet Island;
  4. a silver iceberg - for Adélie Land.

The coronet above the shield is inscribed with the name of the territory in sable (black), this detail being not shown on the above image. The coronet and stars are or, the anchors argent.

On the TAAF post stamps, there is no writing in the 1959-63 and 1970 versions, but writing is present on the 1992 and later versions. Klimes' image is probably more up-to-date than the one shown above

Ivan Sache, 1 May 2001

Ships registered in the Kerguelen Islands

The registration of ships in the Kerguelen Islands allows the ship owner to employ some foreign workers. It was created to fight against the so-called flags of convenience flags which escape the sea labour rules.

There is no other ensign for ships registered in the Kerguelen Islands but the French tricolour ensign.

Pascal Vagnat, Zeljko Heimer & Armand du Payrat, 22 January 2003

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