Boxing Kangaroo

THE BOXING KANGAROO has long been accepted as a symbol of Australia, certainly by the Australians if not the rest of the world. The design is attributed, by official RAAF history, to Warrant Officer Gus Bluett and is based on recorded, including film archives, 19th century travelling side-show entertainment, when the sport of boxing contests between men and kangeroos were a reality.

It was in 1941 during World War II that the design first found national acceptance when RAAF pilots based at Sembawang Station in Singapore, forming 21 Squadron, had a stencilled boxing kangaroo painted on the side of their Wirraway fighter planes, by aircraftman David Marfleet, to identify themselves to the Japanese as Australian and not British.

The flag became famous to younger Australians when Australia II won the America's Cup in yachting in 1983. The Boxing Kangaroo was used by the owner of the team, Alan Bond, as the flag on the yacht entering and leaving harbor. The AOC purchased the rights to the Boxing Kangaroo for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, for 13 million dollars, and was popular with pin traders.

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