NATIONAL SPIRIT: Michael Patmore of Pialba has been flying the flag since 1953. He was spotted adjusting his flag on the 117th anniversary of the national icon.
NATIONAL SPIRIT: Michael Patmore of Pialba has been flying the flag since 1953. He was spotted adjusting his flag on the 117th anniversary of the national icon. Alistair Brightman

Aussie flag still flies true

HERVEY Bay's Michael Patmore has been flying the Australian flag every day since 1953 when he got his first job.

Talking to the Chronicle yesterday for the 117th anniversary of the Australian national flag, Mr Patmore echoed the rhetoric of Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien encouraging everyone to fly the Australian flag.

A local of 15 years, Mr Patmore said when he first flew the flag it was attached to a clothesline prop before he could afford a pole.

"When I started looking to buy a flag when I moved to Hervey Bay, I couldn't find one anywhere,” he said.

So the retired airline steward of 32 years bought 200 flags in bulk from Melbourne and sold almost 150 of them to other residents over the past decade.

"I sell my heavy duty ones for $30 but nowadays you can buy them from the store for $2,” he said.

"I don't mind, I just like seeing the flag flown. I would like to see everyone flying a flag. I wouldn't feel right if I didn't fly my flag.”

In 1901, a competition was held to select a flag for our nation and 32,823 entries were submitted, such was the strong interest in wanting a national emblem to represent our newly created country.

Mr Patmore said he used to fly three and put them up and down every night, however in more recent years he has just the one.

"My old, used flags I attached to the balcony. My wife used to like sun baking naked and the flags gave her privacy,” he laughed.

The 82-year-old said the flag would always be a symbol to him even if he didn't always agree with Australian politics.

The Australian flag was first flown above the Melbourne Exhibition Building 117 years ago, when it identified Australia to the world as a new, independent and unified nation.

It is flown at schools, homes, public buildings, sporting events, on vessels, and flies above Parliament House in Canberra.

For more information on Australian National Flag Day visit the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's website: www.pmc.gov.au/flag.



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