Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

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Coat Of Arms, 1986.

Coat Of Arms, 1986.


The full College Coat-of-Arms was designed in 1927 but was not registered with the College of Heralds until 1986. It includes the School Motto 'Sic Itur Ad Astra' and has the mythic animal Pegasus as its crest. The 'Pegasus' crest and the motto were chosen for the College by Mr George F Hutton, one of the two original assistant masters of 1861.

The following item written by the Principal, Paul Sheahan appeared in the College Community Magazine, Ad Astra in 1986.
'Almost 50 years ago, in August 1927, the Old Geelong Collegians Association presented to the College Council a design for a coat of arms. The Council accepted the design and the arms have been used continuously since that time. Familiar to us all, the armorial bearings consist of a shield surmounted by a coronet and the 'Pegasus' crest. The 'Pegasus' was taken from the arms of the Clan Morrison. The shield is quartered and has emblazoned upon it an open book representing learning, the Burning Bush symbolizing the Reformed Church faith , a claymore signfying the College's Scottish heritage and the Southern Cross, Australia. The coronet at the top is the symbol of the British Commonwealth.

It has however been a cause of some concern over the years that our coat of arms, never having been the subject of a grant from the College of Arms, has been informal in nature and lacking validity. The College of Arms, presided over by Her Majesty's Kings of Arms is authorized by the Sovereign to grant arms subject to the approval of the Earl Marshall. The OGCA, seeking to complete its gifts, has now obtained a formal grant from the College of Arms and after some thirty-two procedural steps the Patent, richly illuminated on vellum , has been received in Geelong and on 13 November last was presented by the President of the OGCA, M J Betts to the College Council.'

The minutes of the OGCA disclose that at the meeting of 18 February, 1926, the Principal, Francis Rolland suggested the need for a Coat-of-Arms as a distinction when awarding 'Honour Pockets'. At the meeting of 6 May, 1927 it was further stated that 'Col Purnell explained the progress of the work of the (Coat-of-Arms) Sub-Committee and submitted coloured designs...' It is not known whether Colonel Purnell did the actual design work. There is no further mention of the proposed Coat-of-Arms in the OGCA minutes but the School Council recorded its acceptance in its minutes of 23 November, 1927. The OGCA minutes of 9 December, 1986 recorded that the College of Arms, London had issued the Letters Patent in relation to the College Coat-of-Arms several months previously and that they would be collected by Bill Farrow on behalf of the OGCA.

Sources: Ad Astra December, 1986 p1.
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