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Thursday, 26 May 1904

Dear Sir,

I am desired by the Prime Minister to acknowledge your letter of 16th inst, calling his attention to the fact that a flag other than the Australian flag was flown at the recent military encampment, and on the ships of the Australian Auxiliary Squadron during the recent Easter manoeuvres.

In reply, I am desired by the Prime Minister to say that his attention has not been previously drawn to the fact mentioned by you, into which he will make early inquiry.

With reference to the fact that the Australian flag is not flown on the ships of the Auxiliary Squadron, the Prime Minister desires me to point out that, as these ships still belong to the British Navy, and that only a proportion of the cost of maintenance is borne by the Commonwealth, it is hardly a matter for surprise that the British flag is flown on these ships.

I am, &c,

T.   R. Bavin.

Although that letter is dated from Sydney, 24th April, 1903, in the Commonwealth Gazette of the day after there is published an order directing that the- Royal Standard is the proper flag to be flown over all the forts of the Commonwealth and over Commonwealth buildings.

Sir John Forrest - That is done throughout the Empire.

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