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An ACT Coat of Arms for our next century

By Steven Squires - 3 December 2015 34

An alternative Coat of Arms of the ACT

As the ACT begins its second century, and the Republic is becoming the talk of the town, the ACT Government has a golden opportunity to provide a fitting symbol for Canberra’s next century as a city.

I am referring to the Canberra Coat of Arms (pictured below), whose symbols no longer reflect the values and ideals of the majority of the ACT population. It is time for the ACT Government to initiate a process of public engagement for the design of an ACT Coat of Arms, in the context of Canberra defining itself for its next century.

Replacing the Canberran Coat of Arms with an ACT Coat of Arms would correct an historical anomaly that has meant the ACT is the only major jurisdiction in the Commonwealth that does not have a coat of arms. Members of the ACT’s heraldry society are open to the idea of an ACT Coat of Arms, having the view that the ACT Government is misusing the Canberran Coat of Arms to represent the entire territory.

And given that the ACT voted strongly in favour of a republic in the 1999 Republic Referendum, having pro-monarchy symbols on the Canberran Coat of Arms flies in the face of the values and ideas of the majority in the ACT, who deserve better than the implied loyalty to the British Monarchy in the crowns and motto.

Canberra Coat of Arms

Does the motto “For the Queen, the Law, and the People”, or any of the other monarchist symbols for that matter,  really represent the ideas and aspirations of ACT residents today? I would say that it does not.

The ACT Government has implicitly acknowledged this, using the “CBR” brand more and more, rather than the coat of arms itself. This is in effect saying that the Coat of Arms is an inadequate symbol for the territory.

An ACT Coat of Arms would provide more relevant and meaningful symbolism for the ACT, and could incorporate well-loved ACT icons as in the example pictured at the start of this article. These include the Gang-gang Cockatoo, the Royal Bluebell, Parliament House, and the Brindabella Mountains. If done correctly, it would become a timeless symbol of the ACT, and put our unique culture and environment at the forefront of our symbols.

This has been done before in Australia, as the South Australian government adopted a more culturally meaningful coat of arms in 1984, replacing one created in 1936. The Northern Territory also has an impressive coat of arms, which uses indigenous themes and incorporates every territory emblem (see below).

Northern Territory Coat of Arms

To this end, with the co-operation of other supporters, I have created a Legislative Assembly e-Petition, to help effect change from the Assembly on this issue. If you support this opportunity to create a great cultural icon, please sign the e-Petition.

Steven Squires is Deputy Convenor, ACT Branch, Australian Republican Movement.

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
An ACT Coat of Arms for our next century
switch 8:29 am 04 Dec 15

Why is there a white swan on the current one?

dungfungus 8:03 am 04 Dec 15

As the Territory is about to plunge into massive debt to fund various thought bubble projects, a coat of arms depicting the symbol of the pawnbroker (3 balls) on a rusty shipping container sinking in LBG surmounted by a tram wires with smoking (electrocuted) Gang-Gangs hanging from them would reflect what this government is all about.

chewy14 7:01 am 04 Dec 15

Surely the new one should have the Belconnen Penis Owl on top of the GDE twisted metal “grass”

wildturkeycanoe 6:56 am 04 Dec 15

What’s with the “all seeing eye” in the greenery on the proposal? Supposed to represent the government’s data retention laws? I guess the yellow bindies on the lawn are appropriate and well done for getting the number of petals correct on the Patterson’s curse.
Seriously though, aren’t there better things to be concentrating on? Coat of arms, big deal. Hospital waiting periods, cost blowouts for light rail, terrorism….I think a petition for looking into a symbol rarely seen or used is going to waste more tax payer money than all the royal inquiries for this year rolled into one.

Postalgeek 11:11 pm 03 Dec 15

Maybe replace the swans and have a white Commodore and an black Audi A4? Maybe also a firework and sex toy crossed as a nod to our heritage.

Masquara 9:47 pm 03 Dec 15

Isn’t it a bit strange to not believe in knighthoods in Australia, but keep a coat of arms?

rosscoact 7:36 pm 03 Dec 15

New one doesn’t do it for me but we do have to ditch the chains and drawbridge, and any reference to the Queen

Ezy 5:20 pm 03 Dec 15

Put a bird on it.

james28 4:24 pm 03 Dec 15

This is really disappointing to see. Our current coat of arms has the dignity and respect befitting the national capital. This proposed alternative by the Republican Movement lacks that dignity. It looks like something you’d see printed on camping equipment and sold out the front of Kathmandu.

rommeldog56 3:55 pm 03 Dec 15

Or maybe a same sex couple on one side, a hetro couple on the other and $800,000 in between ?

rommeldog56 3:50 pm 03 Dec 15

MERC600 said :

Well lets go modernistic. Would there possibly be room for a wind turbine in the coat of arms.

I can see it now.

Wind turbine on one side – solar panels on the other with the Tram including overhead wires, in the middle.

MERC600 3:26 pm 03 Dec 15

Well lets go modernistic. Would there possibly be room for a wind turbine in the coat of arms.

rommeldog56 3:19 pm 03 Dec 15

From the OP “An ACT Coat of Arms would provide more relevant and meaningful symbolism for the ACT, and could incorporate well-loved ACT icons as in the example pictured at the start of this article. These include the Gang-gang Cockatoo, the Royal Bluebell, Parliament House, and the Brindabella Mountains. If done correctly, it would become a timeless symbol of the ACT, and put our unique culture and environment at the forefront of our symbols.”

I dunno – to me that proposed new one looks more like something from a South American banana republic or an ex USSR state……?

rommeldog56 1:24 pm 03 Dec 15

I see this as another opportunity to promote the Tram – it should be the centrepiece of any new ACT coat of arms. With a bicycle on the other side. The caption could be “Canberra – All Grown Up Now” .

Or maybe a 2 lane road way disappearing into the distance with a car on it.

Any other ideas ????

Seriously though, is this really necessary ?

Rawhide Kid Part3 1:14 pm 03 Dec 15

I believe its called the City of Canberra coat of arms, not the Canberra coat of arms.

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