Culture and heritage


Wunderlich mass-production

The Redfern metalworkers Wunderlich began moulding, stamping and pressing zinc or copper statuary in the late 1890s, and by 1905 were advertising metal representations of coats of arms and emblems. All of the moulds and matrixes were made in the Company's Redfern workshops. Following the Great War (when the firm was often attacked for being 'German'), they produced steel, brass and zinc Royal, NSW and Australian coats of arms "suitable for peace celebrations" some of which were decorated in full enamel colour (Bures, 1987).

During the 1930s the expansion of the Rural Bank brought a great demand for representations of the State Arms. Wunderlich produced a range of pressed copper representations - this example is from the interior of the head office building in Martin Place, and consists of seven separate pieces soldered together. A cord joining the necks of the supporters allows the Arms to be hung and moved around. Similar representations were also used on the exterior of branches, and one survives on the former Parramatta branch building at 16 George Street, Parramatta.

The industrial manufacturing that Wunderlich could provide allowed for the production of multiple representations of the State Arms for both interior and exterior uses at a time when the Bank was rapidly expanding its branch network and the variety of services it offered. The surviving branch buildings and their heraldry can still clearly convey an impression of security and modernity (Baskerville, 2006).

Some questions to research:

  1. How did the application of mass production techniques to heraldry affect the use of heraldic devices?
  2. Were there other industrial manufacturers of heraldic representations in NSW - has this changed over time?

Image source: Bruce Baskerville, Heritage Branch: 28 September 2004

Page last updated: 01 September 2012