Culture and heritage


Centennial postage stamp of 1888

The Centennial of British settlement in New South Wales was marked by many celebratory events, including the issue of a set of commemorative postage stamps - the first in NSW and among the first in the world.

A notable feature of these stamps was the inclusion, on two of them, of a coat of arms. Although these were unofficial Arms, they are the earliest version that clearly combines the Advance Australia Arms with the Badge of NSW. The design also features other nationalist emblems of the period: waratah blooms and leaves and a southern cross, as well as a portrait of Queen Victoria. The other stamp to include this coat of arms featured a portrait of Captain Cook.

The charges in the quarters of the shield are the usual Advance Australia charges: a garb in the first, a golden fleece in the second, a crossed pick and shovel in the third and a schooner (in sail) in the fourth. The decorated cross of the Badge of NSW is laid over the Advance Australia cross, from which it appears to separated by a thin white border.

The technique of laying the Badge of NSW over the Advance Australia Arms heralds Gullick's design for the NSW Coat of Arms 18 years later, which may well have been influenced by this earlier design approach.

Some questions to research:

  1. What were some of the centenary events of 1888 - did they focus on a NSW or an Australian identity?
  2. Were there some of the other symbols of the Centennial developed in 1888?

Image source: Bruce Baskerville, Heritage Branch (personal collection).

Page last updated: 01 September 2012