Culture and heritage


Newcastle shops

Advance Australia Arms in Newcastle, 1880s

This shows a fairly standard representation of the Advance Australia Arms on a parapet above a row of shops in Hunter Street (eastern end), Newcastle, from the 1880s.

This version of the Advance Australia Arms is very similar to the 1820s version of the Arms presented to Captain Silk, including the use of colours such as the blue cross, the placement of the charges in each quarter (with the harpoon and anchor replaced by a pick and shovel), the demi-Sun in his Splendour as a crest, the stance of the emu supporter, and the draping arrangement of the motto ribbon. The display of these Arms as the centrepiece above the verandah roof of a row of shops may suggest that the painted Arms presented to Captain Silk also had some commercial use, and that displaying them provided some commercial advantage.

The Arms appear to be made of moulded concrete, although whether the painted colours are the same as those originally used is not certain. The maker of the Arms is unknown.

Some questions to research:

  1. Could the display of the Advance Australia Arms in a commercial context indicate their use in the colonial period as a type of 'Made in Australia' symbol?
  2. What commercial advantage might the builder of this row of shops have sought in displaying the Arms?

Image source: Bruce Baskerville, Heritage Branch, 4th April 2003.

Page last updated: 01 September 2012