General Question 008 – Update on Jack

What is the name of this ship and for the buntings among you where do they fly the Jack?



A.  Yes, it is HMAS Canberra.  However it would appear that the Jack is flown from the centre mast just above the side numbers in lieu of a staff at the bow.

I sent an email to the RAN and here is their reply –  Canberra was built with a Jackstaff right on the edge of the ski ramp, a couple of feet from the edge and it is a rather long drop with no guard rails / nets etc. so we have declined to use it due to the WHS Act. At the moment the Australian National Flag is flown from a halyard at the rear of the Centre Mast, on the centre-line, for what passes as the ‘mast head’ when in harbour. This is the same position from which the sea ensign is flown when we sail. The commissioning pennant is flown from a small halyard half way up the Aft Mast  and the harbour ensign is still flown in traditional fashion from the Quarterdeck.

        There is an intention to eventually have a tall Jackstaff erected alongside the ski ramp that would be safely accessible by sailors on the forward starboard gundeck, they would just have a long way to haul it up.



This image is in relation to David Jasper Robertson’s comment.


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19 Responses to General Question 008 – Update on Jack

  1. John Bullock says:

    HMAS Canberra (L02) is the first of two Canberra-class landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships constructed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Construction of the ship started in Spain in 2008, with the hull launched by Navantia in 2011. The hull was then transported to Australia in late 2012 for completion by BAE Systems Australia. Canberra was commissioned on 28 November 2014, and is the largest ship ever operated by the RAN.

  2. Casper says:

    This is HMAS Canberra, Landing Helicopter Dock. Hull built in Spain and fitting out completed Australia. Commissioned 2014. Displaces 27500 tonnes, 230.8m long and speed of 20 knots plus. Callsign variously given as VKCN (probably correct) and VHCX (probably not correct)The Ensign to a sparker seems to be stuck on a stick thing at the blunt end.

    • Frank Rands says:

      Casper, You are correct the Ensign does normally fly from the Blunt End but the ‘Jack’ normally flies from the sharp end. This ship does not have a sharp end as such, so question was where do they fly the ‘Jack’ from?

  3. Mole says:


  4. albert cross says:

    looks like HMAS :”Canberra” to me but I will leave the jack to the buntings.

  5. Mike Catlow says:

    HMAS Canberra

  6. Alan (Tug)wilson says:

    HMAS CANBERRA On the Jack staff!!

  7. Chook says:

    HMS Canberra. The jack is flown from the mainmast although my research is rather limited and I could be wrong.

  8. Chook says:

    HMAS that should be!!!!!

  9. Pete says:

    The ship is HMAS CANBERRA.(LHD 02)
    The Jack Staff would be at the front of the raised ramp (ski Jump?)starbord side

  10. Jasper Robertson says:

    International Collision Regs require this vessel to show a white light forward which is mounted as per piccy attached. Reasonable to expect that the jack would be flown there.

  11. Casper says:

    What, no blunt end, Frank? How on earth do today’s “sailors”know which way they are going???

  12. Casper says:

    On reflection, I see it is the sharp end that’s missing, so they probably go everywhere backwards-just like pussers.

  13. Jim B. says:

    Not being a Bunting, I could be wrong about this, but thinking back to my early days, in HMS
    Illustrious in 1946, from memory Aircraft Carriers had portable Jackstaffs which were shipped
    in the centre, fore and aft, at the “round-downs, when they were at anchor or alongside, (when
    there was no Flying Ops) for the Ensign and the Jack
    These were unshipped when getting underway and the Ensign was flown on the jackstay aft
    of the Bridge
    Is it likely that the present day “Whirlybird, V/STOL Carriers” would have any different tradition?

  14. Chook says:

    Cut and paste is a wonderful invention aint it John B!!!

  15. Casper says:

    Is that how they built the thing, Chook?

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