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Solomon Islands

Last modified: 2002-11-16 by santiago dotor
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[Solomon Islands] 1:2
by Zeljko Heimer
Flag adopted 18th November 1977, coat-of-arms adopted 7th July 1978

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I made the flag image comparing the shades and star positions in several sources, among them Shipmate's Flagchart, Album des Pavillons 1990 and Smith 1982. They all agree that the shade of green is a rather dark one. Blue is problem of its own, so I left one that I believe is acceptable until we get better information. Yellow is odd, some sources show it as regular yellow (Y), in other sources as dark yellow (Y+). I left the darker one as it seems to me that it gives better colour balance. I estimate that the diagonal stripe's width is 1/10th of the hoist. This flag is used as civil, state and war flag on land.

Zeljko Heimer, 20 May 2000

From Devereux 1998:

The result of official discussion and a design competition, the flag of the Solomons Islands was created in 1977 and adopted in the following year. The five five-pointed stars on the background of blue represent the archipelagian nation's five administrative units, surrounded by the Pacific (and not, as is sometimes claimed, its main islands, for of these there are six). The green is for vegetal lushness and the yellow is for sunshine.
Dorling-Kindersley 1999 [1997?] has:
The national flag, adopted in 1977, is divided diagonally by a stripe of yellow representing the sunshine of the islands. The two triangles formed by the diagonal stripe are blue and green, signifying water and the land. The five stars were initially incorporated to represent the country's five districts. The islands were later divided into seven districts and the symbolism of the stars was modified to refer to the five main groups of islands.
Symbolism of flags is usually quite subjective — this may be a good example.

Jarig Bakker, 24 October 2001

Pre-independence Proposals

Before the adoption of the Salomon [Islands'] current flag several proposal[s] were made. [In] July 1975 a contest select[ed] the new national flag: the winner was a blue flag with yellow circle in the center containing a black frigate bird. The circle was bordered [with] chains. But [the] frigate [bird] was only a symbol of one of the districts and the new national flag was rejected by several people. A lot of proposal[s] circulate[d] then, include some from the main political leaders in parliament. I have some of the proposals [images]. One of the proposal[s] changed the stars for coco[nut]s. One of the first proposals was like the current national flag but reversed (hoist to fly), and many of them changed the current diagonal yellow bar for a yellow circle (as in the 1975 winner proposal). Benedik Kinika, Minister of Education and Culture proposed adding red colour. Gideon Zoloveke rejected the yellow color but admitted blue, green and red. Some members of parliament opposed blue because it was identified [with] the British era, but acepted green, yellow and white (instead of blue). My main source is The Flag Bulletin, but also personal correspondence help[ed] me in some proposals.

Jaume Ollé, 28 May 2000

I was an entrant in the 1975 contest to design the new national flag. As I remember it, the winning design depicted a black chain formed into an ellipse centred on a red ground. The designer, a national Solomon Islander, stated that the chain represented the 'Blackbirding' history and the red was for blood spilled. The design was published on the front page of the Solomon Islands Drum, the national newspaper at the time. It caused quite a public controversy and was finally withdrawn as the design for the flag, but it was the original winner.

At this time, I was the Visual Arts master at King George VI National Secondary School, Honiara, British Solomon Islands (1974-1978). I returned to New Zealand prior to Solomon Islands independence. The design I entered, was green, yellow and blue. The yellow (dark), was a diagonal stripe running from bottom left corner to top right corner. The upper left triangle was blue (sea/sky), the lower triangle was green (fertile land), the yellow (sun/sandy beaches). A cluster of stars in the top left corner signified the provinces, not the Southern Cross.

One of the Solomon Islander judges told me at the time that my design was favoured, but it was preferred that the winner should be a national. I was surprised later, post Independence, to learn that the adopted national flag was in fact the one submitted in the pre-independence competition by myself.

The Solomon Islands Government invited a number of pre selected artists in and around Honiara to come up with a design for the coat of arms for the Solomon Islands when it became independent from Britain in 1978. The meetings were held at the Legislative Assembly Building, Honiara, in 1977.

As a result of the meetings my final design was selected to be sent to the Royal College of Heraldry in England. I did receive a letter of thanks from the minister who chaired the meetings.

The final design was presented as a line drawing in black and white. The heraldic shield in the centre was presented blank, for the later inclusion of the pre-existing provincial symbols. The motto, to lead is to serve was added to the scroll. The motto was contributed by a nun from Tenaru School, a fellow member of the invited artists group.

My original design included a knight's visor [helmet?] as traditionally required, but the ministers did not want this and I was told to remove it. I replaced it with the sun and war canoe. However, the Royal College of Heraldry in England to which my design was finally sent, must have convinced the ministers and slipped the visor back in, under the canoe!

I had understood that the Royal College of Heraldry would approve and present the final in colour. Somewhere in the process, a change has been made to the shark armorial bearer. It no longer has the defined shark's tail. The shark's tail has been replaced with that of a nondescript fish! Regrettably, the design has been compromised. It seems unlikely that the Solomon Island Government Printing Office would have made such an error.

John A. Hazeldine, 13 August 2001

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