Culture and heritage


Installed in the Legislative Council

The beauty of the Coat of Arms, no longer a pattern or mould or casting, is self-evident in this picture of the NSW Coat of Arms installed in the Legislative Council on 9th October 2006.

The paint has all been applied, the lustrous bronze surfaces polished, and the full achievement is seen for the first time. The glowing rising sun crest on its blue and white wreath, surrounded by the gem-like blazing tips of the suns rays, the luminous gold stars on the red cross, and the clean silvery white motto ribbon complement the rich textures and colours of the NSW cedar panelling behind the Arms. The bleu celeste (sky blue, or NSW blue) claws of the lion pay tribute to the two tones of blue colouring in the heraldic artwork of the Royal Arms that previously hung in this position above the Legislative Council's Vice-regal Throne. The entire coat of arms has been modelled and crafted in NSW by the Phoenix Foundry at Uralla, near Armidale.

It is a fitting 21st century representation of the NSW Coat of Arms on the centenary of its granting and assignment by the King to the people of New South Wales for their "...greater honour and distinction" (Royal Warrant, 11th October 1906).

Following the installation of the Arms, comments in the Sydney Morning Herald, and in correspondence to the Heritage Council, has both supported and opposed the Arms, and especially the bleu celeste colouring of the claws. A selection of the comments illustrate the various views:

  • "This Rule of Tinctures (colour should not be placed on colour, nor metal upon metal) is subject to so many exceptions that it is not really a rule at all",
  • "This is an important heraldic point ... the claws overlap the red cross of the shield ... according to the rule of heraldry, you can't place the same colour on the same colour...So the solution is to change the colour of the claws and tongue, usually ... to blue ... when it is placed on a red background. What is unusual ... is that the tongue is not also blue"
  • "Darling we feel the blue claws on your lion looks divine, simply divine",
  • "Blue fingernails are the new black"
  • "Who cares? But can it be eaten though? Just like our emu, kangaroo ... [reply] Apparently unicorn steak tastes like chicken",
  • "I don't claim to know much about heraldry ... but I care nonetheless",
  • "I think it's great, ditch the unicorn and bring in the kangaroo, its all part of making the monarchy our own",
  • "It is republicanism by stealth, but in this case I don't care",
  • "The official blazon ... does not mention that the lion has aquamarine claws ... the only exception [to the rule of tincture] is if the lion is used as a charge on a red shield ... does not apply to supporters because they are not part of the field of the Arms ... the tongue and claws should be the same tincture unless blazoned otherwise ... the fact that a couple (two?) of the claws overlap part of the Gules Cross is immaterial. Two (claws) out of 16 isn't even a majority!".

Image source: Ian Mitchell, Phoenix Foundry

Page last updated: 01 September 2012