Culture and heritage


A representation of the Arms in 1927

Every heraldic artist brings their own interpretation to depicting a heraldic blazon - this representation was developed in 1927, and can show some of the factors that any heraldic artist may be considering when creating a new representation.

Compared to earlier representations, this is a bolder expression of the blazon. The lion is clearly shown as male, and the kangaroo has a pose characteristic of a boomer. Both are depicted with a lively, even challenging stance, defensive and ready for action. The rising sun is proportionately larger than in previous designs, and bursting with vitality. The motto ribbon provides a stronger base upon which the whole composition can safely stand, and is compartmentalised to emphasis the key components: Newly Risen - Brightly Shine. This representation brims with confidence, and could symbolise Premier Jack Lang's 'state rightism' that later played a part in his downfall as premier. It appears to have had limited use, perhaps because of its association with Lang, and one of the few examples of its use is on the fly leaf of an album that Lang presented to the Duke of York in 1927.

Heraldic animals were always traditionally clearly shown as male or female, and it was only in the more 'polite' Victorian times in English-speaking countries that they became asexual. In more recent heraldry there has been a return to showing them as male or female, usually in a reasonably subtle manner (see Neubecker 118-120, 186-187; von Volborth 38, 45-46, 65, 129). The 'Lang version' of the NSW Coat of Arms was clearly returning to this earlier depiction of heraldic animals - could this be another reason it never attracted enduring official favour?

Some questions to research:

  1. What are some the factors that a heraldic artist might need to consider in depicting a new representation of an official coat of arms?
  2. How common or unusual is clearly identifying the gender of animals in heraldic representations - does this change over time?

Image source: GPO 2 - 05906, State Library of NSW, Picman

Page last updated: 01 September 2012