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Category: Badges

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The History of the

Badge of the Royal Australian Navy

The official badge of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was adopted on 23 August 1949 ( pictured below left) as a result of an inquiry by the Building Surveyor, Hobart, Tasmania, who wished to incorporate a naval symbol in a design for the Hobart Cenotaph. The badge was derived from a Navy office booklet "Advice to Personnel", "The Navy List" and a rubbing from the badge displayed on the glass doors on the ground floor of the Coventry Street entrance to "N" Block.

Information Feb 2002


The description of the officially approved design was promulgated in Navy Order 262/1949. 

It contained within a left handed rope surround, which displayed a knotted section in its base, a stockless chain cabled anchor, and four dots which were placed between a federation star and the words "Royal Australian Navy". 

Placed on top of the rope surround was the Tudor (Kings) Crown.


This badge was then amended on 3 December 1957 (NO 1149/1957) by substituting the St Edwards (Queens) Crown for the Tudor Crown and right hand in place of left hand roping. (pictured left)

On 16 July 1968 the badge was again revised by eliminating the knotted rope surround in favour of a plain oval rope surround and the four dots which appeared between the words, Royal Australian Navy and Federation Star.

Some thoughts are that the four dots from the original rubbing were duplicated in the original draft designs by mistake as they could have been the mounting screw holes that secured the badge to the door

Certainly this gives the badge even further mystery about its origins because no record exists about the designers or original designs that lead to the existence of the 1949 badge.  

Again speculation but with some sound knowledge suggests that the origins came from the Royal Navy (RN) as so many other RAN badge designs are derived from the RN.

The current 2002 official badge (left) has had a slight change since the development of the 1968 badge. 

The change being in spacing the words "Royal Australian Navy" closer together.

The above information is the official line and may very well be true and correct. However it might not be complete. Below is a post card sent from Gallipoli in 1915 that bears an RAN Badge very similar to the later 'official' badge' but without the King's Crown.  As the postcard appears to be a standard Government issue "fill in the gaps" type, one has to wonder just how old the Navy Badge really is.
I made enquiries of the RAN. This is their reply. "Yes the Navy badge was introduced officially in 1949 but evidence does exist that it was used and displayed prior to this date although no official records are held to back this up.  It is only through the existence of pictures and other material like the certificate in your reference that indicate the use of and different designs of the Navy badge.  Some even suggest that the original design, as displayed on the certificate, came from a navy button that had the Navy badge on it.  The mystery goes on and on". (10 Feb 2003)

For more ideas on where the RAN badge may have come from look at the Buttons Section

"The Naval Badge" of the Royal Navy

The Royal Navy as such has no specific badge. On blazer pockets, Naval officers (and many ratings nowadays) wear the Naval crown but, as this crown is incorporated in the authorised badge of the Merchant Navy, it cannot be used to signify the Royal Navy specifically. The plain foul anchor (centre piece of the Naval cap badge) is probably the most appropriate badge to use to signify the Royal Navy.

This may explain why the RAN was in no hurry to have a badge of its' own.

NAVY Badge update:  2005

The Navy badge was redrawn in 2001 to make it more recognisable to the general public.  

We did this by adding the word NAVY to the badge and took the opportunity to redesign the inside of the badge while we were at it, as you rightly point out the words are closer together and it's now in a '3D' look.  

We also have a black and white version.


For 'ceremonial' use (such as memorials and other solemn occasions) we use the badge without the word NAVY, this is a gold coloured crest - but - wherever we can we use the badge accompanied by the word NAVY (either under or next to the badge depending on the print area). A serving RAN CPO.

Webmasters note. The badges with NAVY added are only advertising badges. 

There is no suggestion that the wording be included in any hat badge or uniform badge.



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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces