The Burdekin Shire has been granted Letters Patent by the College of Arms in London with the result that the Shire has its own Coat of Arms.
The first approach to the College of Arms for a Grant of Arms for the Shire was made early in 1987 at which time the Somerset Herald, Thomas Woodcock Esq., provided details of what actions would be necessary on the part of the Council and what information the Council would need to provide.
In short, it was necessary to provide a brief history of the Council from the time when it was first established as a Divisional Board in 1888. It was also necessary to provide the College with copies of the Government Gazettes setting up the Divisional Board in 1888, changing it to a Local Authority in 1903, and the changing of the Shire’s name in 1982. All of the necessary documents were obtained with assistance from the Department of Local Government.
The Council was asked to provide information about flora and fauna and to suggest what factors should be taken into account in the design of the Shield, the Crest and the Badge. The Council was also given an opportunity to submit a draft design for the Coat of Arms, which was fairly accepted by the College with the final product being a modified version of the design submitted.
The Coat of Arms can be described as follows:
The background of green symbolises that this is an agricultural district. The ribbon of blue down the centre represents the river which is the largest single feature of the district and the underground water supply upon which the district is so reliant.
Ribbons of white each side of the blue represent the sands of the river and our beaches. The twin masks comedy and tragedy symbolise the Arts and a set of masks each side of the river represents the twin towns of Ayr and Home Hill.
The knight’s helmet with adornments on top of the Shield is a necessary feature of every Coat of Arms.
The white Owl symbolises education and knowledge. The Council had originally suggested a book as this symbol, but was advised that the use of a book in Grant of Arms has not been allowed for quite some time. The sticks of sugar cane held in the Owl’s talons represent the main crop and industry of the district.
The motto of “WATER-ENDEAVOUR-PROSPERITY” means that by the use of our abundant underground water supply, and with a great deal of endeavour, we can and do achieve prosperity.
In the selection of bearers a decision was made to endeavour to use something with a close association with our district and the final decision was the White Sea Eagle, which is a majestic bird often seen along our beaches and around local saltwater creeks. The Barramundi held in one talon of each eagle symbolises another popular feature of the area.
Usage of the Coat of Arms
The Coat of Arms can be used only by the Council or with the approval of the Council in association with projects with which the Council is closely involved. The Council has used the Coat of Arms on letterheads and advertising, some in full colour and some in black and white. It is also being used by the Council on important official documents.
The badge is not part of the Coat of Arms and is comprised of thistles surrounded by a garland of Cooktown orchids. The thistle represents our association with Ayr in Scotland and the Cooktown orchid is an acknowledged colourful symbol of North Queensland.
The flag is also not part of the Coat of Arms and includes the contents of the shield, the badge, the motto and the owl used in the crest.