The flag differs from the Australian state flags as it is not a defaced British Blue Ensign. It is similar in design to the flag of the Northern Territory. The flag uses the Canberra city colors of blue and gold (which also happen to be the heraldic colours of Australia). The Southern Cross appears as five white stars on a blue panel at the hoist, whilst in the centre of the gold field in the fly is the modified arms of the City of Canberra. The flag was designed by Ivo Ostyn.
Even though the Australian Capital Territory has existed since 1909 and was given self-government in 1989, it had never had a flag of its own.