Coat of arms reflects the unique culture of historic municipality

Hunters Hill Guest Column


IT IS exactly 25 years since the then Federal MP for Bennelong, John Howard, presented the Municipality of Hunters Hill with a new Coat of Arms.

With this quarter of a century anniversary and the fact that the future of Hunters Hill Council is very much to the forefront, it is worth examining the make-up of the Coat of Arms and the official badge and municipal flag which emanate from it.

It took several years for the Coat of Arms to come to fruition.

It replaced an earlier and more simplistic version and its design was the work of local input but principally was the creation of the then Town Clerk Bill Phipson and Hunters Hill artist Barrie Drake.

The product was finalised by the grand-sounding Norroy and Ulster King of Arms in London, and given official status by the College of Arms in the United Kingdom, which has been responsible for heraldic matters since the 15th century.

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MANY find it interesting to see what constitutes the Coat of Arms and how it reflects the unique culture and man-made and natural environment of one of the oldest municipalities in Australia.

According to council records, a key component is the reference to Captain John Hunter, commander of the Sirius in the First Fleet and second Governor of the Colony (1795-1800).

Hunter surveyed the lower Harbour in 1788 and noted an area including a peninsula which consisted of “some good looking land”.

This promontory is now what is known as Hunters Hill.

It is widely believed, although not confirmed, that the area derived its name from the association with Hunter.

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THE COAT of Arms is made up of the shield, the crest, the supporters and the base.

Each aspect has historical significance, both in the chosen symbols and the colour that is used.

On the blue shield are three silver wavy bars.

These represent the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers.

The green hunting horn which is stringed red depicts the connection with the Scottish family of Hunter.

The two oars are the blades of the colours of St Joseph’s College. These represent water-based recreation and water-based transport, both locally prominent.

The crest has a blue and white theme, which continues the association with the waterways.

The wreath is black and white which are the colours of local sporting organisations.

On this rests an ancient golden coronet with a fleur-de-lys pattern, representing the governmental role of the council and also French and other European influences in the municipality’s early development.

On top of the crown is a Port Jackson Fig Tree which represents native flora as well as the ‘tree of knowledge’ of education. The stylised tree is similar to the tree used by Hunters Hill High School as part of its emblem.

On either side of the shield are two white ibis. These large wading birds are native to the area and are representative of all indigenous fauna. They stand on a base of sandstone blocks which signify the local stone ridge which was quarried for building many of the handsome homes in the area.

Beneath the base is the motto, “Moocooboola”, which translates as ‘the meeting of the waters’.

This is an Aboriginal word associated with many local events and activities.

It represents the area’s early Aboriginal occupation and the geographical location of the municipality at the western end of the harbour.

CHRIS SCHOFIELD is President of Hunters Hill Historical Society