Australia’s official National Colours are green and gold. These were formally established in a proclamation by the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stevens, dated 19 April 1984. The text of the proclamation, insofar as the National Colours are concerned reads:
‘that green and gold (Pantone Matching System numbers 116C and 348C as used for printing on paper) shall be the national colours of Australia for use on all occasions on which such colours are customarily used.’
These colours are in the ‘public domain’ which means that green and gold may be used by any organisation or individual representing Australia without paying a fee (Page & Johnson 1997).
Green and gold are the colours commonly used by Australians when representing their county in international sporting events. These are the predominant colours found on many species of Wattle, namely, green foliage and golden inflorescences.
The 1984 proclamaton settled a long dispute as to whether the National Colours should be green or blue together with the gold. Blue and gold nevertheless retains heraldic importance within Australia. For example, these colours are seen in the Australian Coat of Arms where the wreath which subtends the Commonwealth star is blue and gold (these are the known as the ‘livery colours’ of the Arms). Green and gold is also represented on the Coat of Arms by the Wattle which is an ornamental accessory to the shield (interestingly, the Wattle does not form part of the Armorial Bearings). Blue and gold is also represented in the Order of Australia awards where the medal itself is suspended from a ribbon showing golden Wattle motifs on a blue background.
Further information on the National Colours is provided by Page & Johnston (1997) and in the beautiful book titled Australian symbols.
Anonymous (2000). Australian symbols, pp. 63. (A book published and produced for the Awards and National Symbols Branch of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.)
Page, R. and Johnston, C. (1997). Wattle. Gould Leaguer 5(6): 1-28 (The Gould League of NSW Inc.: Gladesville, N.S.W.)