ACT to get its own Coat of Arms, but what will it look like?

Lachlan Roberts 25 February 2019 109
Canberra Coat of Arms

The City of Canberra’s coat of arms designed by C. R. Wylie in 1928. File photo.

Now that the battle between the Eastern Bettong and the Southern Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby for the title of ACT’s new mammal emblem has been fought and won, the ACT Government has turned its attention to the ACT’s Coat of Arms – or lack thereof.

It was only during the search for the ACT’s mammal emblem that it was discovered that the nation’s capital familiar black and white swan coat of arms actually represents the City of Canberra instead of the whole territory.

The Standing Committee on Environment and Transport, led by Suzanne Orr, has been charged with looking into creating a separate Coat of Arms for the ACT and what rules and protocols apply when designing one.

Because it happens so infrequently, Ms Orr said there is no clear and established process for adopting a jurisdictional coat of arms in Australia.

“We had a number of submitters write in and say that while we are looking at the mammal emblem we should look into the ACT Coat of Arms and perhaps consider a redesign of our flag as well,” Ms Orr said.

“The last state or territory to adopt a Coat of Arms was in 1978 and that was the Northern Territory so there is not a lot of recent guidance to say what we can and can’t do. So we have written to the Royal College of Arms in the UK to receive some guidelines.”

A Coat of Arms is a tradition which can be traced back to medieval times, originally portrayed as a unique design on the shield of a knight, handed down to his descendants. Nearly all Coat of Arms feature creatures, people or even plants who hold up a shield, which is sometimes referred to as the escutcheon.

The City of Canberra’s coat of arms was designed by C. R. Wylie in 1928, with a black and white swan, castle, two crowns and the phrase ‘For the Queen, the law and the people’.

The ACT is the only state or territory in Australia without a Coat of Arms, with no clear explanation as to why we have been left behind.

“The Committee is trying to unravel the mystery why the ACT does not have one. We went to an exhibition at the Canberra Museum and Gallery to look at the flag and they had a bit of history on the Coat of Arms,” Ms Orr said.

“It was put to us that when the ACT became self-government, they had a lot of things to do and a Coat of Arms did not make the to-do list at the time. That is the best explanation that we have received so far.”

Once the Committee figures out the parameters to adopt or design a new Coat of Arms, they will look at the symbols to include on the Arms and which “supporters” to hold up our shield.

“We have the rock-wallaby as our mammal emblem, we have the gang-gang cockatoo as our bird emblem and the Blue Bird which is our floral emblem,” Ms Orr said. “So we have quite a few emblems which could become part of the Coat of Arms.”

The Committee will report back to the Legislative Assembly mid-year and the Committee will invite community submissions in the coming months.

For further information, or to make a submission, please contact the Committee Secretary on (02) 6205 0124 or by email.


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109 Responses to ACT to get its own Coat of Arms, but what will it look like?
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Tony Armstrong Tony Armstrong 1:08 pm 23 Feb 19

A burning car in the centre

Roberta Lynne Anning Roberta Lynne Anning 12:58 pm 23 Feb 19

Bet it will be a rainbow over a tram, sorry light rail.

Ben Medway Ben Medway 12:51 pm 23 Feb 19

A massive apartment block towering over a railway line under construction

Brent Thomas Brent Thomas 12:34 pm 23 Feb 19

Dont bother

Jason Preston Jason Preston 12:32 pm 23 Feb 19

Just wondering if this will be sorted by the College of Arms?

    Christopher Lee Butterworth Gurney Christopher Lee Butterworth Gurney 6:57 am 27 Feb 19

    It ought to be tho given the general lack of knowledge in this country towards such things I doubt it

Steve Arundel Steve Arundel 12:29 pm 23 Feb 19

Booby whale?

Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 12:28 pm 23 Feb 19

A northside bogan and a southside bogan, both rampant with stubbie or tinnie in hand. The heraldic shield would be crossed bongs and our floral emblem the Cannabis plant adorning a picture of Mooseheads

Carl S Carl S 12:20 pm 23 Feb 19

If it were up to Barr it would be his face right up front, with a tram on the left and dollar bills to the right.

Zahidul Alam Zahidul Alam 12:20 pm 23 Feb 19

A rainbow roundabout

Trev Dunham Trev Dunham 12:18 pm 23 Feb 19

Do we have keys to the City......?

Or have they been handed to the developers ?

Sam Auld Sam Auld 12:18 pm 23 Feb 19

Cockatoo!

Stephen Bejamin Duff Stephen Bejamin Duff 12:18 pm 23 Feb 19

"A tram proudly resting on a rainbow roundabout."

    Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 12:29 pm 23 Feb 19

    Not inclusive enough, that's all Northside.

    Stephen Bejamin Duff Stephen Bejamin Duff 12:51 pm 23 Feb 19

    Rob Chalmers maybe some burning car wrecks and mountain ranges in the background?

    Vickie O'Malley Vickie O'Malley 2:49 pm 23 Feb 19

    Stephen Bejamin Duff still northside.

    Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 9:58 pm 23 Feb 19

    Stephen Bejamin Duff Like where your going

Kytie Mclign Kytie Mclign 12:16 pm 23 Feb 19

A kangaroo, to show up what hypocrites our leaders are. Also maybe a Narrabundah peacock, seeing as they won the right to stay and all ...

Peter McMahon Peter McMahon 12:16 pm 23 Feb 19

Why ask we all know that it will be a rainbow of some description to soothe the minority.

Lori Lethlean Lori Lethlean 12:13 pm 23 Feb 19

Should involve a revolving in it...

Richard Robinson Richard Robinson 12:13 pm 23 Feb 19

Do not leave it to Andrew Barr.

    Warren Butt Warren Butt 12:35 pm 23 Feb 19

    Richard Robinson heck it will be a rainbow roundabout.

    Natasha Van Oudheusden Natasha Van Oudheusden 1:35 pm 23 Feb 19

    Warren Butt the whole thing will be in rainbow colours and you’ll have to pay to look at it

    James Baker James Baker 10:52 pm 23 Feb 19

    if left to him he will only increase the rates further to pay for an over priced graphic designer

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 12:10 pm 23 Feb 19

Well obviously needs a few high rise apartment blocks in it.

Antoinetta Borrello Antoinetta Borrello 12:09 pm 23 Feb 19

Maybe a carp

Jake Lambie Jake Lambie 12:09 pm 23 Feb 19

An owl that looks like a penis and some pointless pile of rock “artwork”

    Amanda Sue Rochford Amanda Sue Rochford 12:01 pm 24 Feb 19

    Jake Lambie

    Oh and some jumbled steel pipes that is supposed to look like grasses in the wind.

Danielle Smith Danielle Smith 12:03 pm 23 Feb 19

Magpies & cyclists

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