At Half Mast

Protocol - Australian Flags flown at half mast

Flags are flown at the half-mast position as a sign of mourning.
The Flag is brought to the half-mast position by first raising it to the top of the mast and then immediately lowering it slowly to the half-mast position (this position is estimated by imagining another flag flying above the half-mastered flag). It must be lowered at least to a position recognizably "half-mast" to avoid the appearance of a flag which has accidentally fallen away from the top of the mast owing to a loose flag rope. A satisfactory position for half-masting would normally be when the top of the Flag is one-third of the distance from the top of the mast.Flags should be flown at half-mast when directed by the responsible Commonwealth minister. The following are examples when the flag should be flown at half mast:

  • On the death of the Sovereign - from the time of the announcement of the death up to and including the funeral. (It is customary on the day when the Accession of the new Sovereign is proclaimed for flags to be raised to the top of the mast from 11 a.m. until the close of business).