Coat of Arms of Australia

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Australian Coat of Arms (since 1912)
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Australian Coat of Arms (since 1912)

The Coat of Arms of Australia is the official symbol of Australia. The initial coat of arms was granted by King Edward VII on May 7, 1908, and the current version was granted by King George V on September 19, 1912, although the 1908 version continued to be used in some contexts, notably appearing on the sixpenny coin until 1966.

Former Coats of Arms

The 1908 coat of arms consisted of a shield in the centre, the Commonwealth crest above it, and a kangaroo and an emu supporting the shield, all on a bed of green grass with a scroll containing the motto "Advance Australia". The 1912 coat of arms replaced the bed of grass with a background of golden wattle, changed the scroll to read simply "Australia", and addressed concerns that Australia's states were not represented by representing each of their coat of arms on the shield.

Current Coat of Arms

The shield is the focal point of the coat of arms, contained within are the coats of arms of the Australian states. In the top half, from left to right, the states represented are: New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. In the bottom half, from left to right: South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania.

Above the shield is the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star or Federation Star above a gold and blue crest, referred to as the commonwealth crest. Six of the points on the star represent the original six states, while the seventh point represents the territories and any future states of Australia.

The kangaroo and emu that support the shield are the unofficial animal emblem of the nation. This owes to them being native to Australia, and found only on that continent and being unable to walk backwards representing progress. In the background is wreath of golden wattle, the official national floral emblem. At the bottom of the coat of arms is a scroll that contains the name of the nation. Neither the wreath of wattle nor the scroll are technically part of the official design described on the Royal Warrant that grants the armorial design. The official blazon in heraldric terms is:

Quarterly of six, the first quarter Argent a Cross Gules charged with a Lion passant guardant between on each limb a Mullet of eight points Or; the second Azure five Mullets, one of eight, two of seven, one of six and one of five points of the first (representing the Constellation of the Southern Cross) ensigned with an Imperial Crown proper; the third of the first a Maltese Cross of the fourth, surmounted by a like Imperial Crown; the fourth of the third, on a Perch wreathed Vert and Gules an Australian Piping Shrike displayed also proper; the fifth also Or a Swan naiant to the sinister Sable; the last of the first, a Lion passant of the second, the whole within a Bordure Ermine; for the Crest on a Wreath Or and Azure A Seven-pointed Star Or, and for Supporters dexter a Kangaroo, sinister an Emu, both proper.

The menu of many popular Australian restaurants feature a dish named The Coat of Arms. It is served on a plate with slices of kangaroo meat arranged on the left hand side, emu meat on the right hand side and usually vegetables in the centre.

The coat of arms are the basis of the Queen's Royal Standard of Australia

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