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Committee urges ACT Government to replace ‘anachronistic’ Coat of Arms

Lachlan Roberts 23 August 2019 108
Should be this the ACT's new coat of arms? Proposed coat of arms designed by Steven Squires.

Should this be the ACT’s new coat of arms? This proposed coat of arms was designed by Steven Squires. Image: Supplied.

Canberra looks set for a brand new Coat of Arms after a report urged the ACT Government to either design a new Coat of Arms or update the current “anachronistic” and “archaic” one.

The ACT’s 91-year-old Coat of Arms, which actually represents the City of Canberra instead of the whole territory, features a castle which represents the “dignity, importance and grandeur of Canberra as a city” and two swans which represented “Australia’s white and Indigenous populations”.

The Standing Committee on Environment and Transport, which was tasked to investigate what rules and protocols apply when designing a new coat of arms for the ACT, handed down its final report on Thursday (22 August), with a resounding push for a new design.

The Committee received 68 submissions on whether the Territory should adopt a new coat of arms, with nearly 80 per cent of submissions calling for change.

The committee said the major theme running through most submissions was that the current Coat of Arms does not reflect the ACT’s history, people and geography, with contributors suggesting that the symbolism of the current design is “anachronistic” and “unreflective of the ACT in the 21st Century”.

Canberra Coat of Arms

Canberra’s current Coat of Arms. File photo.

Ivo Ostyn, who designed the current ACT flag, told the Committee that the Coat of Arms current design was “irrelevant”.

“If you look at the current city coat of arm, they do not speak to me,” Mr Ostyn said. “I find them irrelevant in many ways. A castle! Honestly, a castle, a sword, crowns, a mace and a portcullis. Are these really symbols of the ACT? I do not think so.”

Another submission suggested the removal of all reference to the crown, monarch, queen or the UK in the coat of arms, including the current motto which reads – “For the Queen, the law, and the people”.

“There is so little typical of Australian sentiment embodied in the original design,” the submission read. “The flag instead embodies Old-world Lords, aristocratic imagery of crowns, castles, portcullis, swords and maces.”

Ivo Ostyn suggested this new Coat of Arms. Image: Supplied.

As part of the community consultation, contributors also suggested design elements they would like to see included in a new Territory coat of arms with the royal bluebell proving to be a popular feature.

Other popular elements were the southern brush-tail rock wallaby, the gang-gang cockatoo and Indigenous symbols including crossed boomerangs or an Aboriginal shield in the red, black and yellow of the Aboriginal flag.

Chair of the Committee, Suzanne Orr, said it was clear from the submissions that the current Coat of Arms needs to be updated.

“Canberrans want to see symbols that better reflect our modern and inclusive community and this report provides the Government with a clear pathway to make the necessary changes,” Ms Orr said.

Ms Orr said the Committee also received evidence that the ACT Flag, which depicts a modified version of the City of Canberra Coat of Arms, is problematic from a range of perspectives. The report recommended that the ACT Government heed the “widespread displeasure” with the flag and design a new one with community consultation.

Click here to read the full report. 


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108 Responses to Committee urges ACT Government to replace ‘anachronistic’ Coat of Arms
Grant Harvey Grant Harvey 3:19 am 26 Aug 19

The rats of Canberra?

David Vickers David Vickers 11:14 am 25 Aug 19

Great! But...dot paintings and boomerangs were not common to this region.

Daniel Evans Daniel Evans 9:51 am 25 Aug 19

Does not look very regal unless it’s the logo of an upper class kindergarten

Gwg Heldon Gwg Heldon 8:57 am 25 Aug 19

Shouldn't it be, as our coat of arms, the light rail running over a kangaroo that was standing on the rainbow roundabout. The light rail driver was distracted by his mobile phone and his vegan pumpkin soy chai latte.

Veronica Murray Veronica Murray 8:32 am 25 Aug 19

yes because that's what we need to spend our money and time on...

Tuula Irene Tuula Irene 11:53 pm 24 Aug 19

Total waste of tax payers money. We dont need a new one anyway!

noid noid 9:15 pm 24 Aug 19

This is so low on the priority list of things to do, how much is this costing? Also how much will the updates to buildings, websites, stationery, vehicles etc cost? Further proof of an out of touch government!!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:28 pm 24 Aug 19

Government agencies etc. consider a name change as great progress. It necessitates forming committees, having meetings and all the other nonsense that they go on with. They do it well.

Jackie White Jackie White 7:44 pm 24 Aug 19

Hmmmm.... I always wondered if there are people employed by governments purely to change the names of places, departments etc.

Now I know.....

eg: How many times has "Dept of Social Security" had a new name in the last twenty years?

I guess changing logos and coats of arms would also be part of their duties too.....

Lee Eeles Lee Eeles 7:28 pm 24 Aug 19

I like it. And besides, who actually notices a coat of arms these days? You could have two transexual unicorns getting it on and I would not give a flying f*ck.

Michael Longley Michael Longley 5:08 pm 24 Aug 19

Why does this 100 year old modern city in Australia need a coat of arms based on English medieval design rules peddled by old men in London?

Kevin Read Kevin Read 5:01 pm 24 Aug 19

Shouldn't those marsupials be euthanised ?

Sam Nö Sam Nö 4:08 pm 24 Aug 19

Why are we funding this ?

    Ken Scott Ken Scott 5:13 pm 24 Aug 19

    Looks like more effort went into the design of the original than this proposed one, like I mean this is for the ACT and I don't see a single large roundabout anywhere

    Sam Nö Sam Nö 8:07 pm 24 Aug 19

    Ken Scott I know .. what a waste of tax money

    Sam Nö Sam Nö 12:56 am 25 Aug 19

    Ken Scott whoa you did well! Paint is the way of the future 😂

    Chris Ferguson Chris Ferguson 6:36 pm 25 Aug 19

    It could be worse: You could be facing a publically funded, non-binding, national referendum for a new flag 😖

Tim Wilkins Tim Wilkins 3:13 pm 24 Aug 19

The old one is what it is, coats of arms aren't meant to change with the whims of fashion. The new thing is fine as a logo, but it isn't a coat of arms, and I sincerely doubt (and hope!) the college of heralds would ever sign off on it.

John Moulis John Moulis 2:14 pm 24 Aug 19

"Widespread displeasure with the current ACT flag"? You mean the flag which was put forward in a public vote in 1990 with three other designs and which won the poll with 69% support?

Dee Sharpe Dee Sharpe 1:31 pm 24 Aug 19

Are the roos supposed to be pregnant?

Julie Coker-Godson Julie Coker-Godson 12:56 pm 24 Aug 19

How about we replace the Committee?

Keran Niquet Keran Niquet 12:34 pm 24 Aug 19

Is this a sick joke?

Harper Pirsig Harper Pirsig 12:09 pm 24 Aug 19

I like the current one.

Toby Wilkins Toby Wilkins 11:28 am 24 Aug 19

Tim Wilkins... outrage! At least keep the portcullis!

Otherwise why even bother?!

    Toby Wilkins Toby Wilkins 3:14 pm 24 Aug 19

    Tim Wilkins there are probably shmos up in here that'd call it a drawbridge!

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