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?
Matt Baker Matt Baker 4:05 pm 23 Feb 19

2 gooses riding a tram 🚊 🍋

Katy Grimes Katy Grimes 4:09 pm 23 Feb 19

Roundabout, Kingsleys and the LBG jet

Julie Coker-Godson Julie Coker-Godson 4:16 pm 23 Feb 19

As it's known as the Bush Capital perhaps one of the figures should be a Kangaroo - haven't thought of anything else at this stage.

Fiona Hall Fiona Hall 4:36 pm 23 Feb 19

Skywhale, with a holographic penis owl in the background. Surrounding by two ‘bang bangs’...one to represent the bangs we hear in the north and one to represent the ones we hear in the south

Greg Marsh Greg Marsh 5:11 pm 23 Feb 19

I feel that it should be a group of clowns scratching their heads.

Travissi Gilbert Travissi Gilbert 5:21 pm 23 Feb 19

The penis-owl and the big syringe

Meredith Ellen Meredith Ellen 5:23 pm 23 Feb 19

Of course that's what the ACT Government is spending our rates on 😡

Jeremy Calero Jeremy Calero 5:34 pm 23 Feb 19

Isn’t that our coat of arms with the swans?

Geoff Santleben Geoff Santleben 6:02 pm 23 Feb 19

A takeaway coffee and a paleo muffin.

Janet Pumpa Janet Pumpa 6:54 pm 23 Feb 19

Agree Pop Senior !

Fred Pilcher Fred Pilcher 7:13 pm 23 Feb 19

A block of flats with bits falling off it and a tram with smoke coming out of it.

Ali Hammoud Ali Hammoud 8:03 pm 23 Feb 19

It should be mal meninga on the left and Ricky on the right, what a combination

Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 9:02 pm 23 Feb 19

Big issues

    Kieran May Kieran May 9:31 pm 23 Feb 19

    Daniel Oyston very big. Hopefully it will celebrate the tram as it nears the hospital. Oh, wait......

Joe Coppin Joe Coppin 9:23 pm 23 Feb 19

What's wrong with making the "City of Canberra" coat of arms which those who care would recognise encompass all ACT?

I reckon a few people could find a better use for the $$$ it will cost to produce a second one for the ACT.

    Tim Kirsopp Tim Kirsopp 7:58 am 24 Feb 19

    Joe Coppin because that would detract from whatever is going on they don't want us to know about. Bet there is a pollie pay rise going through soon.

    Tracy Robinson Tracy Robinson 9:32 am 24 Feb 19

    I agree Joe. Use what we have already on the flag. Why confuse the issue and waste more money doing it.

    Patrick J Pentony Patrick J Pentony 5:58 pm 27 Feb 19

    Joe Coppin although the blank swan should be black not blue

Garvin Francis Garvin Francis 9:29 pm 23 Feb 19

Thought we had one already

    Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 9:35 pm 23 Feb 19

    Garvin Francis that’s what it says though - the coat of arms reps Canberra the city but the ACT as a territory doesn’t have one. Imagine what we could achieve with one! 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

Tony R Baldwin Tony R Baldwin 9:53 pm 23 Feb 19

What other city is there in the ACT though all are suburbs of Canberra it’s the only place within the the boundaries we’ll also Tharwa Unless the Dormant plans to Annex QBN are about to happen

We are a city state well not state but you get what I mean so unless the territory government which lets face it is a big city council and intends to devolve some powers and sets up local government in Woden / Tuggeranong / Gunghalin & Belconnen What’s the point

Matt Matt Matt Matt 10:10 pm 23 Feb 19

A billion dollar train set.

Jeff Knight Jeff Knight 10:13 pm 23 Feb 19

Why aren't people taking this seriously? Oh, that's right we're talking about the ACT Government, which in fact should be no more than a council 😂

Grant Tobias Grant Tobias 11:02 pm 23 Feb 19

But why? Seriously, what are these for? We don't go into battle with shields on arms? What are they for?

Tim Niggles Tim Niggles 1:19 am 24 Feb 19

It’s amazing that the people of Canberra, based on the comments, believe that it is the only settlement in the ACT. The people of Gudgenby and Boboyan have struggled for too long without their own Coat of Arms. The Cotter can beat it though, they have a Dam

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