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The Australian coat of arms is commonly but incorrectly referred to as the ‘Commonwealth Crest’.
Strictly speaking, the crest is the device above the shield and helmet on a coat of arms. The Australian crest is a seven-pointed gold star on a blue and gold wreath. Six of the points represent each of the states of the Commonwealth; the seventh point represents Australia’s territories.
The supporters are native Australian animals: the red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) and the emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae). It is thought the kangaroo and emu were chosen to symbolise a nation moving forward, reflecting a common belief that neither animal can move backwards easily.
The present coat of arms was granted by King George V in 1912. It consists of a shield depicting the badges of the six Australian states, enclosed by an ermine border. The shield is a symbol for the federation of the states, which took place in 1901.
Usually the arms is depicted on a background of sprays of golden wattle with a scroll beneath it containing the word ‘Australia’. The wattle and scroll, however, are not part of the armorial design and are not mentioned in the Royal Warrant.
Australia has never adopted any official motto or faunal emblem. By popular tradition, however, the kangaroo and emu are widely accepted as such. The golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) was proclaimed the official national floral emblem in August 1988.
The Australian coat of arms consists of the badges of the six states of the Commonwealth arranged on a shield in two rows of three columns:
Each State and Territory also have their own Coat of Arms.