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by Edward Cattoni, 13 August 2003
I am the designer of the proposed North Queensland State flag, which contains:
One may have expected that the people of Brisbane who struggled for years before obtaining separation from New South Wales on 10 December, 1859 might have nurtured a fellow concern for their Northern counterparts but history has proven this not to be the case.
John Dunmore Lang in 1852 in his book, "Freedom and Independence for the Golden Lands of Australia", proposed three new Northern Colonies. Agitation for separation continued to intensify to the end of the 19th century until 1887 the North Queensland Separation League sent a delegation to England to submit a case for separation to the Secretary of State, Sir Henry Holland. In following years many memorials praying for separation were presented to Parliament by representatives of both Northern and Central Queensland, and in 1892 the Central Queensland Separation League followed the example of the Northerners by sending a delegation to London.
A separate Northern State should have become reality in 1897 when William Kidstone MLA (Rockhampton) proposal was passed on the Speaker's casting vote after a twenty for and twenty against split. Victory was within the grasp of the people at last but on the following day a number of absent members of the Assembly advised Sir Hugh Nelson in writing that the resolution was carried "in a very thin house" after a late night sitting. They recorded their dissent even though they had been absent from the house. The fact that Separation did not eventuate from that historic moment proved Archibald Archer's MLA (Rockhampton) warning that Forces of vast power who no doubt knew which side their bread was buttered would oppose separation.
In 1948 another New State Movement was inaugurated in North Queensland, following which the governor's speech at the opening of the Queensland Parliament in August 1948 contained the suggestion that new States might be formed in Queensland when they had a reasonable degree of economic stability. That prerequisite has not been an issue for decades!
The North Queensland Movement received additional impetus following a representative popular convention held at Mareeba in August 1955 when the " New State for North Queensland Movement" was officially launched. Agitation for a North Queensland State has persisted throughout the 1970's and 80's with continued demands for a referendum. The driving force at this time was the North Queensland Self-Government League which had the aim of having "a separate self-governing sovereign state by 1988". In 1994 the North Queensland Party was formed with Frank Rossiter of Townsville as a leading figure. The new North Queensland flag was proposed and approved at a meeting on the 16 October, 1994. In attendance were Frank Rossiter, Max Keating, Alex Caldwell and other leading figures supporting a separate state. The blue and white North Queensland State Flag consisted of the Southern Cross and Tropical Sun with Marlin. An earlier North Queensland flag included the Union Jack and the yellow sun with the letters NQ within it.
Edward Cattoni, 13 August 2003