Soldiers conducting flood relief tasks in Ipswich, Queensland, noticed a familiar looking flag among the flood debris and refused to let it go to landfill.

Discovering a damaged and dirty double-stitched Australian national flag and understanding its significance, Sergeant Brad Wilson and his team saved the flag, arranging for it to be restored and mounted into a frame.

The flag was presented as a gift to Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding as a show of appreciation, having collaborated with the Ipswich City Council during Operation Flood Assist 2022.

Sergeant Brad Wilson explained the significance of the flag and how his team discovered it.

“We were conducting flood relief tasks in Haig Street and came across this Australian national flag that was being disposed of, so we recovered it,” Sergeant Wilson said.

“The Australian national flag, especially a double-stitched Australian flag, has significance, they have to be destroyed in a certain manner.

“We couldn’t let it be thrown out. We were going to dispose of it in the manner that it deserves, but now it’s going to be displayed in the mayor’s office.

“The fact that it be in the mayor’s office is pretty exceptional and makes my team feel pretty grateful.”

Major General David Thomae, centre left, holds the Australian national flag found in flood debris at Brassall with Ipswich City Mayor Teresa Harding, centre right, during her visit to Colleges Crossing recreation reserve in Ipswich. Left to right: Warrant Officer Russell Beck, Wing Commander Stuart Mattner, Major General David Thomae, Ipswich City Mayor Teresa Harding, Flying Officer Joshua Ellsworth and Sergeant Brad Wilson. Photo: Corporal Nicole Dorrett

Sergeant Wilson described the morale of people in Ipswich who had been hit the hardest by recent floods, and how his team responded.

“The confronting part of the flood relief effort has been the sorrow and sacrifice people have made,” he said.

“Some people don’t have insurance and have lost absolutely everything, so it can be pretty hard on everyone working here.

“The ADF has worked hard in Ipswich.”

Ipswich City Mayor Teresa Harding was elated by the gift from Sergeant Wilson’s team.

“We got the call that about 42 units that had been flooded in Brassal, so council and ADF just flocked there to help the residents and clean out the area,” Mayor Harding said.

“I love the fact that there’s still a bit of mud and flood staining on the flag, it shows that there’s some history there, so this will be an heirloom for our city.

“So many people have fought for our freedoms and this flag, and now it’s being protected.”