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Last updated 19 June 2019

A history of the college crest

Dr John Radford discussed the design of Arms with the Garter King of Arms during a visit to London in 1959, and suggestions for the design came before the College's Council later in the year.

The RACGP College Crest
In 1960 Dr William Arnold Conolly was able to discuss the proposals with the Council of the British College in London, especially in relation to establishing a permanent link between the two Colleges in the detail of their respective Arms, and then to meet with the Richmond Herald to finalise the details.

Shortly afterwards the Council of the Australian College adopted the final proposals which then went ahead. The Patent of the Grant of Arms was on view at the Fourth Annual General Meeting of the College in 1961, displayed in a handsome cabinet donated by Dr David Zacharin, at that time Deputy Chairman of Council.

The official description of the Arms in heraldic terms

"Argent on a Cross Gules a forked Staff entwined with a Serpent Or between four Mullets of six points Gold And for the Crest on a Wreath Azure and Gules a Golden Wattle Tree flowered and leaved proper. Mantled Azure and Gules, doubled Argent. On the dexter side a Kangaroo proper and on the sinister side a Unicorn Argent armed unguled crined and tufted Or".

The following explanation is offered in more familiar terms for the uninitiated amongst us. The red cross on the shield is the universal badge of the medical services to which the College belongs while the staff and serpent, the ancient emblem of Aesculapius, are guarded by four stars signifying the Southern Cross; each star has six points to represent the six faculties of the College. The crest is the living golden wattle tree in full bloom. This Australian tree has its place in the pharmacopoeia and it stresses the fact that the College is a vital, growing entity. The wreath on which the crest stands and the mantling are blue and red, as is the College gown.

The supporters are our Australian kangaroo and the British unicorn, which possesses fabled healing properties. The motto, Cum Scientia Caritas, adopted with the generous concurrence of the College of General Practitioners (it is their own motto), may be translated: "with skill, tender loving care". This common motto and the supporters are witness to the close relationship of the Australian College with the parent College.