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Aussie Icon


and what it means, but because it is temporary! As mentioned earlier, it was originally tracked by the Greeks.


Due to some force of nature known as the Precession of the Equinoxes, that I really don’t have a handle on, The Southern Cross used to be visible in Athens up until around the time of Christ. If you lived in Athens, you could clearly see Crux in 1000BC, you could see half of it in 400AD, and none of it by the time this went to print. This means by approximately 5000AD it will no


The Southern Cross... You’re A Star! by Connie Stellation navigation.


O


fficially known as Crux(Latin for cross), it is the most widely known constellation in the southern hemisphere. It’s mentioned in our anthem, it’s on our flag, and it’s tattooed on the small of your ex-girlfriend’s back. This month’s Aussie icon is The Southern Cross.


Most of the credit goes to an escargot eater by the name of Augustin Royer, who in 1679 discovered that Crux was its own constellation. However, before the French, the Greeks had al- ready tracked our famous stars. Yet it was during the 17th and 18th centuries that our famed star group came to the fore. Exploring and risking one’s life voyaging around the globe was all the rage, and sea units such as Hartog, Tasman and Cook famously relied on the constella- tion for navigational purposes. For residents of today it holds a slightly different position. Yes, navigation does come into it, but only if you…no…actually, no one I’ve ever met has needed it for


70 • the Beast


Today, The Southern Cross is a symbol of pride. It takes pride of place on our national flag, as well as the flags of the ACT and Victoria. Peter Lalor and the min- ers during the Eureka Stockade swore “by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties” and used the stars on the uprising’s famous flag. And Sir Charles Kingsford Smith became the first person to fly from the United States to Australia in his Fokker called The Southern Cross in 1928.


It is this pride that also results in searches for the Southern Cross at barbecues around Austra- lia every night, resulting in an inebriated member of the party pointing at his own invented, somewhat different version. In recent years, this pride has also seen The Southern Cross oust the butterfly as the Aussie female’s favourite “I’m up for it” tattoo. So, Australia, celebrate this icon. Not only because of pride


longer be visible from here. I’m sure I don’t have to explain the full ramifications of this - our flag won’t make sense, campers will get lost and all those girls will look like right twits. Enjoy our wonderful icon while we have it. And did you know...


1. New Zealand does not use all five stars of the cross on their flag. Epsilon is omitted. 2. Southern Cross also features on the flags of Samoa, PNG, and Brazil.


3. The USA’s 1st Marine Corp Divi- sion use the Southern Cross on their badge and also use Waltz- ing Matilda as their battle march. 4. Italian legend Dante referred to the Southern Cross in his work Purgatorio. He believed the four main stars represented justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude.


5. In 1893, Banjo Patterson wrote “The English flag may flutter and wave, where the world wide oceans toss, but the flag the Australian dies to save, is the flag of the Southern Cross.”


www.thebeast.com.au


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