St Andrew's College

The arms of St. Andrew

In 1876 the Council of St Andrew's College commissioned the Colonial Architect of New South Wales to design for them a coat of arms to use on their new corporate seal.

James Barnet, the Colonial Architect in 1876, designed a shield with a white St Andrew's saltire cross on a lightish blue ground, with four eight-pointed stars arranged between the arms of the cross. An open book with 'Holy Bible' written in English on its two visible pages lay in the centre of the cross.

In 1883 this crest was incorporated into the College seal.

The College motto: Christo, Ecclesiae, Litteris, seems to have been written by the great Professor of Classic at Sydney, Charles Badham, who also composed the motto of the state of New South Wales. It means 'For Christ; for the [Presbyterian] church; for learning [or scholarship]'.

In 1964, the Principal, Alan Dougan, and some old boys realised that the Colonial Architect had no right to issue crests of arms, even in his own colony. This was the prerogative of the College of Arms in London, for England, or the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms, for Scotland.

Dougan very properly chose to go to Edinburgh rather than London. There he discovered that the crest designed by James Barnet had in fact been granted long ago, before St Andrew's College had opened its doors to students, to the University of Otago in that most Scottish of colonial cities, Dunedin.

The Lord Lyon, however, on payment of a substantial fee, redesigned the crest, so that the saltire cross was no longer straight-edged but 'engrailed' (i.e. scalloped) and the four stars were no longer twinkling with eight points each but became instead rather jaunty amoebas waggling six very mobile arms. The book in the middle remained, but lost its identification as the Bible, while gaining bright red edges.