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Australian Coat of Arms & National Colours

Australia's first national coat of arms was granted in 1908 and displayed the kangaroo and emu supporting the shield, and standing on a grassy mound. 

The second coat of arms, made in 1912, included the symbols of the states woven together in the central shield with a border symbolizing federation.

The Australian Coat of Arms is the property of the Commonwealth of Australia and is used by the Commonwealth to authenticate documents, to indicate ownership of property, and for other purposes of identification. It may not be used or reproduced by others for other purposes without permission.

The first grant of armorial ensigns, crest and supporters to the Commonwealth of Australia was made in 1908; a new design was granted by Royal Warrant in 1912.

The Coat of Arms as used on a WW1 Certificate of Service

A garden edging tile circa 1900 which bears a design very similar to the Coat of Arms.

Some people claim that the Rising Sun depicted is the fore-runner to the AIF Rising Sun badge.


The Commonwealth Arms are commonly but incorrectly referred to as the 'Commonwealth Crest'. Strictly the Crest is the device above shield and helmet on a coat of arms; in Australia's case it is the seven-pointed gold star on the wreath.

The Australian Coat of Arms consists of:

The Badges of the six States of the Commonwealth arranged on a shield in two rows of three columns:
  • New South Wales - Golden Lion passant (right to left) on a red St George's Cross on a silver background (usually depicted white), with an 8-pointed star on each extremity of the cross.
  • Victoria - White Southern Cross (one star of 8 points, 2 of 7 points one of 6 points and one of 5 points), beneath an Imperial Crown, on a blue background.
  • Queensland - light blue Maltese Cross with an Imperial Crown at its Centre, on a white background.
  • South Australia - the White-Backed Magpie (or Piping Shrike), erect, wings outstretched, on a yellow background.
  • Western Australia - Black Swan swimming, left to right, on a yellow background.
  • Tasmania - Red Lion passant (right to left) on a white background.
The shield is enclosed by an ermine border, signifying the federation of the States into the Commonwealth.

  • The Crest of the Arms, consisting of a seven-pointed gold star on a blue and gold wreath. Six points represent each of the States of the Commonwealth, the seventh point represents the Commonwealth Territories.
  • The Supporters of the Coat of Arms, Australian endemic Fauna: the Kangaroo proper to the left and the Emu proper to the right.
  • Usually the Arms are depicted in a compartment adorned with wattle (Acacia pycnantha) leaves and inflorescence, and a scroll with the word "AUSTRALIA" on it under the Arms. The wattle and the scroll and the rests for the Kangaroo and Emu do not constitute part of the Arms.
Australia's National Colours
  • Three colour combinations traditionally claim to be Australia's national colours: 
    • red, white and blue; 
      • blue and gold; and 
        • green and gold.

Red, white and blue were featured in the first Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth in 1908 and are the colours of the Australian national flag.

The colours blue and gold have heraldic significance as they are the colours of the crest in Commonwealth Coat of Arms.

Green and gold gained wide popularity and acceptance in sporting events, both here and internationally. They were proclaimed Australia's national colours by the Governor-General on 19 April 1984. Prior to that there were no official colours.


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