Coat of arms of Australia

The coat of arms of Australia, officially called the Commonwealth Coat of Arms,[1] is the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia.[2] A shield, depicting symbols of Australia's six states, is held up by the native Australian animals the kangaroo and the emu. The seven-pointed Commonwealth Star surmounting the crest also represents the states and territories, while floral emblems appear below the shield.

The first arms were authorised by King Edward VII on 7 May 1908, and the current version by King George V on 19 September 1912, although the 1908 version continued to be used in some contexts, notably appearing on the reverse of the sixpenny coin.

The Coat of Arms of Australia
Australian Coat of Arms
Shield of arms of Australia
Escutcheon-only version
ArmigerElizabeth II in Right of Australia
Adopted19 September 1912
CrestCommonwealth Star
TorseBlue and Gold
Blazonsee below
SupportersRed Kangaroo and Emu
CompartmentGolden Wattle
Coat of arms of Australia 1908–1912
Coat of arms of Australia (1908–1912)
ArmigerMonarch in Right of Australia
(Edward VII 1908–1910)
(George V 1910–1912)
Adopted7 May 1908
CrestCommonwealth Star
TorseWhite and Blue
SupportersRed Kangaroo and Emu
CompartmentGrassy field proper
MottoAdvance Australia


The escutcheon is the focal point of the coat of arms, contained within is the badge of each Australian state, the whole surrounded by an ermine border representing the federation of the states.[2]

State Badge Description
New South Wales Badge of New South Wales the cross of St. George with lion
and stars
Victoria Badge of Victoria (traditional) a St Edward's Crown and Southern Cross
Queensland Badge of Queensland a blue Maltese Cross and Crown
South Australia Badge of South Australia the Australian piping shrike
Western Australia Badge of Western Australia a black swan
Tasmania Badge of Tasmania a red walking lion

In the top half, from left to right, the states represented are: New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. In the bottom half, from left to right: South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Above the shield is the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star or Star of Federation above a blue and gold wreath, forming the crest. Six of the points on the star represent the original six states, while the seventh point represents the combined territories and any future states of Australia. In its entirety the shield represents the federation of Australia.

The Red Kangaroo and Emu that support the shield have never been designated as official animal emblems of the nation.[3] They owe their unofficial recognition to the fact that they are endemic Australian fauna (found only on that continent), and likely chosen because they are the most well-known native Australian animals large enough to be positioned together in scale holding up the shield. They were chosen to symbolise a nation moving forward, based on the fact that neither animal can move backwards easily – i.e. symbolising progress. It has been claimed[4] that the kangaroo is, and must be seen to be, male.

In the background is wreath of Golden Wattle, the official national floral emblem, though the representation of the species is not botanically accurate.[5] At the bottom is a scroll that contains the name of the nation. Neither the wreath of wattle nor the scroll are technically part of the design, because they are not described on the Royal Warrant that grants the armorial design.[3]


The official blazon of the Commonwealth was included within a Royal Warrant of King George V on 19 September 1912, making the Arms officially adopted. The blazon is as follows:[1]

Quarterly of six, the first quarter Argent a Cross Gules charged with a Lion passant guardant between on each limb a Mullet of eight points Or; the second Azure five Mullets, one of eight, two of seven, one of six and one of five points of the first (representing the Constellation of the Southern Cross) ensigned with an Imperial Crown proper; the third of the first a Maltese Cross of the fourth, surmounted by a like Imperial Crown; the fourth of the third, on a Perch wreathed Vert and Gules an Australian Piping Shrike displayed also proper; the fifth also Or a Swan naiant to the sinister Sable; the last of the first, a Lion passant of the second, the whole within a Bordure Ermine; for the Crest on a Wreath Or and Azure A Seven-pointed Star Or, and for Supporters dexter a Kangaroo, sinister an Emu, both proper.


Bowman Flag
Bowman Flag 1806 depicts the emu and kangaroo as supporters
Australia Federation Ribbon2
An 1899 suggested version, and the Australian Federation Flag

Following the federation of Australia, the first official coat of arms of Australia was granted by King Edward VII on 7 May 1908.[6] The original design is thought to have been inspired by the 1805 Bowman Flag, which showed the rose, shamrock and thistle supported by a kangaroo and emu.[7]

It consisted of a shield in the centre, the seven pointed star on a wreath as the crest above it, and a kangaroo and an emu using its foot to help the kangaroo to support the shield, all on a bed of green grass with a scroll containing the motto "Advance Australia". The selection of the kangaroo, the emu and the words, "Advance Australia" was tied together symbolically. The shield had a white background, with a red cross of Saint George, blue lines outside the cross, and a blue border containing six inescutcheons featuring a red chevron on white, representing the six states. The Scottish Patriotic Association was vocally opposed to the shield's design, noting that it should display the Union Jack to represent British and Irish settlers. These arms were used by the government and appeared on the sixpence coin from 1910 until 1963, and the threepence, shilling and florin from 1910 to 1936.

The 1908 arms were redesigned in 1911, and officially granted by George V on 19 September 1912. The redesign spurred much debate in Parliament. The Member for Wentworth, Willie Kelly, said:

"The emu and kangaroo are so built that they hardly fit into the heraldic atmosphere, and I think we make ourselves ridiculous when we endeavour to carry on the traditions of the Old World with some of the wild creations of our Australian fauna."[8]

Despite objections, the kangaroo and emu now not having its leg up remained the shield bearers in the new coat of arms and were modified to appear more realistic. The principal reason for the redesign was the concern that Australia's states were not individually represented; that was achieved by showing each state's heraldic badge on the shield. The new coat of arms removed the bed of grass beneath the shield and changed the scroll to read simply "Australia". The colours in the wreath were also changed from blue and white to blue and gold. A background of two sprays of Golden Wattle was added, but it has never been an official part of the armorial bearings,[3] even though the Golden Wattle was proclaimed Australia's national flower on 19 August 1988 by the Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen.[9]


The Commonwealth Coat of Arms is the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia that signifies Commonwealth authority and ownership. The Arms are used by Australian Government departments and agencies, statutory and non-statutory authorities, the Parliament and Commonwealth courts and tribunals. Senators and Federal Members of the Australian Parliament may also use the Arms in the course of their duties as Parliamentarians.[2] The coat of arms should never be used where it could wrongly imply a formal guarantee, sponsorship or endorsement by the Commonwealth.[10] Use of the arms by private citizens or organisations is rarely permitted; however, there are provisions for use by sporting bodies and in educational publications. Use of the coat of arms without permission may be in breach of Sections 53 (c) (d) and (e) of the Trade Practices Act 1974, Section 145.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 or Section 39(2) of the Trade Marks Act 1995.[11] The import of goods bearing the arms is also illegal according to the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations.

There is a full colour version and nine heraldically correct official versions exist for single-colour reproduction.

The coat of arms is the basis of the Queen's Personal Australian Flag, and since 1973 a slightly modified version has formed the basis of the Great Seal of Australia.

The coat of arms is used as badge of rank for Warrant Officers Class 1 (Army) and Warrant Officer (Navy and Air Force). A more stylised version is used as a badge of rank for Warrant Officer of the Navy, Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army and Warrant Officer of the Air Force.

Coats of arms of states and territories

See also


  1. ^ a b Cabinet, Prime Minister and (22 June 2016). "Commonwealth Coat of Arms". Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2014). Commonwealth Coat of Arms information and Guidelines.
  3. ^ a b c "Coat of Arms". About Australia. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  4. ^ "The House with Annabel Crabb, ABC TV". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Australian Coat of Arms". WorldWideWattle. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  6. ^ The Armorial Ensigns of the Commonwealth of Australia 1980. Commonwealth of Australia ISBN 0-642-04793-6
  7. ^ Letter from William Gullick to Atlee Hunt, 10 July 1908
  8. ^ Hansard, House of Representatives, 31 October 1912
  9. ^ "Floral Emblems of Australia". Australian National Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  10. ^ Use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms General Guidelines Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ It's an Honour – Commonwealth Coat of Arms Archived 15 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine

External links

1908 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1908 in Australia.

1912 in Australia

The following lists events that happened during 1912 in Australia.

Australian one-dollar note

The Australian one-dollar note (or $1 bill) was introduced in 1966 due to decimalisation, to replace the 10-shilling note. The note was issued from its introduction in 1966 until its replacement by the one-dollar coin in 1984. Approximately 1.7 billion one-dollar notes were printed.

Australian one-pound note

The Australian one-pound note was the most prevalent bankote in circulation with the pound series, with the last series of 1953–66 having 1,066 million banknotes printed. The first banknotes issued were superscribed notes purchased from 15 banks across Australia and printed with Australian Note and were payable in gold.

Australian pound

The Australian pound (symbol £) was the currency of Australia from 1910 until 14 February 1966, when it was replaced by the Australian dollar. As with other £sd currencies, it was subdivided into 20 shillings (symbol s), each of 12 pence (symbol d).

Australian round fifty-cent coin

The round fifty cent coin was the highest-denomination and largest diameter coin of the Australian dollar's decimal coins, introduced in 1966. Due to large amounts made in 1966 and the rising cost of silver, it was not made in any other year. It was replaced by a dodecagonal 50 cent coin in 1969, which retained its reverse of the Australian Coat of Arms.

It was made of 80% silver and 20% copper, but as the value of a free-floating silver piece grew higher, the coins' bullion value became higher than their face value and so were withdrawn from circulation. A total of 36.45 million coins were minted with 14 million put into circulation.

Commonwealth Star

The Commonwealth Star (also known as the Federation Star, the Seven Point Star, or the Star of Federation) is a seven-pointed star symbolising the Federation of Australia which came into force on 1 January 1901.

Six points of the Star represent the six original states of the Commonwealth of Australia, while the seventh point represents the territories and any other future states of Australia. The original star had only six points; however, the proclamation in 1905 of the Territory of Papua led to the addition of the seventh point in 1909 to represent it and future territories.The Commonwealth Star is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Australian flag, as opposed to the similar flag of New Zealand.

Florin (Australian coin)

The Australian florin was a coin used in the Commonwealth of Australia before decimalisation in 1966. The denomination was first minted in 1910 to the same size and weight as the United Kingdom florin.

Florins minted from 1910 to 1945 were produced with a .925 sterling silver content, weighing 11.31 grams (0.3636 troy ounces) with an actual silver weight (ASW) of 10.46 grams (0.3363 ozt).

Florins minted from 1946 to 1963 were produced with a .500 silver content (50% silver), weighing 11.31 grams with an ASW of 5.65 g (0.1818 ozt).

The florin was worth 24 pence (two shillings, or one-tenth of a pound). The coin was minted until 1963, with some years omitted: no florins were minted in 1920, 1929–30, 1937, 1948–50 and 1955. Also, commemorative florins were issued for the following years: 1927, 1934–35, 1951, and 1954. Two different designs were issued in each of the commemorative years (the "regular" approved issue plus the specially approved memorial designs). Also, no coins of any denomination were issued in 1965, as all minting was shut down in preparation for decimalisation.

When Australia decimalised officially, on 14 February 1966, the florin was equal to 20 cents.

During World War II, between 1942–1944, florin production was supplemented by coinage produced at the San Francisco branch of the United States Mint. These coins bear a small "S" mint mark below the Australian coat of arms.

The image on the reverse of the coin was the coat of arms of Australia (except for commemorative coins). This comes in two forms, all with the kangaroo, emu and the shield containing the coat of arms. Those issued between 1910 and 1936 have a seven-pointed star above the coat of arms, and the Southern Cross constellation within the shield. Those issued between 1938 and 1963, inclusive, have the royal crown above, the six states represented in the shield and a golden wattle plant as a background.


A heptagram, septagram, septegram or septogram is a seven-point star drawn with seven straight strokes.

The name heptagram combines a numeral prefix, hepta-, with the Greek suffix -gram. The -gram suffix derives from γραμμῆ (grammē) meaning a line.

National Medal (Australia)

The National Medal is an Australian award given for long service by operational members of specified eligible organisations. It was introduced in 1975, as an original component of the new Australian honours system, and replaced a range of medals available to military and civilian uniformed services for long service and good conduct. The eligible groups have in common that their members serve or protect the community at the risk of death, injury or trauma, hence it is only available to members of the eligible organisations who are operationally deployed. In the case of corrective services, eligibility is restricted to officers with custodial duties.

National colours of Australia

The national colours of Australia are green and gold. They were established by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Ninian Stephen, on 19 April 1984 in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette; on advice from Prime Minister Bob Hawke.The gold colour represents the golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha), which is Australia's national flower. The uniforms of Australia's national sports teams are usually green and gold. The golden wattle flower, and the colours green and gold, are also featured on the Coat of arms of Australia.

The Australian government states that, to be used correctly, the colours are placed side-by-side, with no other colour between them. The exact green and gold colours are specified as Pantone Matching System numbers 348C and 116C. The colours are always referred to as 'green and gold'.

Before 1984 three colour combinations unofficially represented Australia:

red, white and blue,

blue and gold, and

green and gold.According to the Australian government, "green and gold have been popularly embraced as Australia’s national sporting colours" since the late 1800s. Nearly every current Australian national sports team wears them (although the hues and proportions of the colours may vary between teams and across eras). Australia's cricket team first wore the colours in 1899, in the form of the baggy green, the cap presented to Australian cricket players.

National symbols of Australia

National symbols of Australia are the official symbols used to represent Australia.

Order of Australia

The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service. Before the establishment of the order, Australian citizens received British honours.

The Queen of Australia is sovereign head of the order, while the Governor-General of Australia is the principal companion/dame/knight (as relevant at the time) and chancellor of the order. The governor-general's official secretary, currently Paul Singer, is secretary of the order.

Outline of Australia

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Australia:

Australia refers to both the continent of Australia and to the Commonwealth of Australia, the sovereign country. Australia, the world's smallest continent, is in the Southern Hemisphere and borders both the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

The Commonwealth of Australia comprises the mainland of the Australian continent, plus the major island of Tasmania, and other nearby islands. The neighbouring countries are Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea to the north, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia to the north-east, and New Zealand to the south-east.

The Australian mainland has been inhabited for more than 60,000 years by Indigenous Australians. After sporadic visits by fishermen from the north and then European discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, the eastern half of Australia was later claimed by the British in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation as part of the colony of New South Wales, commencing on 26 January 1788. As the population grew and new areas were explored, another five largely self-governing Crown colonies were established during the 19th century.

Queen's Personal Australian Flag

The Queen's Personal Australian Flag is the personal flag of Queen Elizabeth II in her role as Queen of Australia. The flag was approved for use in 1962. It is only used by the Queen when she is in Australia, or attending an event abroad in her role as head of state of Australia. The Queen's representative, the Governor-General of Australia has a separate flag.

The flag consists of a banner of the coat of arms of Australia, defaced with a gold seven-pointed federation star with a blue disc containing the letter E below a crown, surrounded by a garland of golden roses.

Each of the six sections of the flag represents the heraldic badge of the Australian states, and the whole is surrounded by an ermine border representing the federation of the states:

The Upper Left represents New South Wales and bears a red St George's Cross, upon which is a gold lion in the centre and a gold star on each arm.

The Upper Middle represents Victoria and contains a Crown and five white stars on a blue field.

The Upper Right represents Queensland and consists of a blue Maltese cross, bearing a Crown, on a white field.

The Lower Left represents South Australia and includes a piping shrike on a gold field.

The Lower Middle represents Western Australia and consists of a black swan on a gold field.

The Lower Right represents Tasmania and contains a red lion on a white field.The gold seven-pointed star (the Commonwealth Star), represents the states and the territories. The blue disc is taken from the Queen's Personal Flag as used for duties within the Commonwealth of Nations.

The flag is used in two ratios, 1:2 and 22:31. The 1:2 ratio ensures the flag maintains visual integrity with other naval flags, which are 1:2. A 22:31 ratio gives simple dimensions for the flag elements, with a border of 2 units thick, and central squares of dimensions 9×9.

Royal Australian Mint

The Royal Australian Mint is the sole producer of all of Australia's circulating coins. Opened in 1965 and situated in the Australian federal capital city of Canberra, in the suburb of Deakin, the Mint is also a very popular tourist destination for visitors and locals alike.

Before the opening of the Australian mint, Australian coins were struck at branches of the Royal Mint - the Sydney Mint, Melbourne Mint and Perth Mint. The Royal Australian Mint is the first mint in Australia not to be a branch of the Royal Mint in London. The only other operational mint in Australia is the Perth Mint.

Shilling (Australian)

The Australian Shilling was a coin of the Commonwealth of Australia prior to decimalisation. The coin was minted from 1910 until 1963, excluding 1923, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1938, 1947, 1949 and 1951. After decimalisation on 14 February 1966, it was equal to 10c.

During World War II, between 1942–1944, shilling production was supplemented by coinage produced at the San Francisco branch of the United States Mint, which bear a small S below the ram's head.

Threepence (Australian)

The Australian Threepence is a small silver coin used in the Commonwealth of Australia prior to decimalisation. It was minted from 1910 until 1964, excluding 1913, 1929–1933 inclusive, 1937, 1945 and 1946. After decimalisation on 14 February 1966, the coin was equivalent to 2½¢, but was rapidly withdrawn from circulation.

During World War II, threepence production was supplemented by coinage produced by the United States Mint at the San Francisco and Denver mints. Coins minted at the San Francisco mint from 1942–1944 contain a small capital S on the reverse, while coins produced at the Denver mint from 1942–1943 have a small capital D on the reverse.

Coats of arms of Australia
States and territories
Capital cites
External territories
Sovereign states
Associated states
of New Zealand
and other territories
National flags
National coats of arms


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