News & Events






Queen's birthday honours 2014 Appointments in England
International Heraldry Congress in Oslo Appointment in Ireland
Australasian Congress in Canberra Appointments in Scotland
Australian Commonwealth arms on coin  
Arms of Bishop Comensoli  


Queen's Birthday Honours List June 2014

The Society is delighted to welcome the well-deserved appointment of the Governor of New South Wales as a Dame of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2014.

This most empathetic, hardworking and esteemed of women truly merits the award which is reserved for “extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to Australia or humanity at large” and is made on the recommendation of the Prime Minister alone without reference to the Council of the Order as is the process with all other levels of the Order.

The announcement of her appointment records that it is made “For extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to the administration, public life, and people of New South Wales, to medicine, particularly as an advocate for improved mental health outcomes for the young, marginalised and disadvantaged, to international relations, through the promotion of collaborative health programs, and as a leader in tertiary education.”

It is further testament to her pre-eminence amongst her fellow Australians that she alone has been the recipient of the new award when the Prime Minister could have recommended the appointment of up to four recipients. It is also satisfying that she will retire from office acknowledged by this award and will be styled “the Honourable” for life by approval of the Queen which was gazetted in December 2013. This style applies to all living and future Governors.

Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir becomes the only living knight or dame who has been appointed. Each living knight or dame (Sir Ninian Stephen, Dame Quentin Bryce and Sir Peter Cosgrove) became Principal Knight or Dame by operation of the Constitution of the Order and continue to be a knight or dame following office pursuant to the Constitution of the Order, an observation which does not in any way detract from their extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit. In the case of Sir Ninian, that achievement and merit has been recognised by this appointment as a Knight of the Garter by the Queen in her personal gift. Prince Charles became a knight of the Order by amendment to its constitution rather than by appointment.

The Society is also delighted to note the appointment of member John Kennedy McLaughlin as a Member of the Order “for significant service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly through documentation and preservation of Australian legal and constitutional history, and to the community.”

Congratulations of the Society are extended to both Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD, CVO, and to John McLaughlin AM.

Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD, CVO
Her Excellency at a graduation at St John's College, University of Sydney, in Feb 2010.


XXXI International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences

In 2014 the International Congress of Heraldic and Genealogical Sciences will be held in Oslo, Norway. The congress will be held under the auspices of the Norsk Heraldisk Forening (Norwegian Heraldry Society) together with the Norwegian Genealogical Society. The congress is held every two years, the previous being in Maastrich, Netherlands in September 2012.

For futher details on the 2014 congress visit the web site [ www]


The 14th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry

In 2015 the triennial Australiasian congress will be held from 26-30 March in Canberra. Registrations open in April 2014, and earlybird registrations close on 31 Oct 2014. For further details about the congress or to sign up for the congress newsletter Canberra Calling visit [ www]


Australian Commonwealth coat of arms 1 oz silver proof coin

The Perth Mint has produced a 99.9% pure silver coin featuring the Australian Commonwealth coat of arms, in full colour. These arms, displayed on the obverse of the coin, were granted by King George V in a Royal Warrant on 19 September 1912. Australia's first coat of arms was granted by King Edward VII in 1908 and are featured on the reverse.

Australian Commonwealth coat of arms 1  oz silver proof coin - obverse and reverse

For further details visit the Perth Mint web site [ www]. This coin is available for purchase from the Perth Mint from January 2008.


Coat of Arms of Bishop Peter Comensoli

The surname 'Comensoli' originates from the Val Camonica region of northern Italy, where Bishop Peter's father, Michael, was born before his family emigrated to Australia in the 1920s. The maiden name of Bishop Peter's mother, Margaret, is 'Kauter' and it is associated with the Hunter Valley region of NSW; the surname itself being of Germanic origins.

No arms are known to be associated with either side of the family. Therefore the motto and arms that Bishop Comensoli has adopted are of a personal character, and may be described as follows: On a blue field, a gold cross inverted with a red seven-pointed Commonwealth star at each extremity, in the upper left quarter, a silver lion's head erased at the neck with gold mane and tongue and in the upper right quarter a silver unicorn's head erased at the neck with gold mane and horn.

Bishop Comensoli and Richard d'Apice
Bishop Peter Comensoli DD with with our President Richard d'Apice AM and the Bishop's new arms.


In heraldic terms the arms may be blazoned Azure on a Latin Cross inverted throughout Or four mullets of seven points Gules in dexter chief a Lion’s Head contourné erased Argent crined and langued Or in sinister chief a Unicorn's Head erased Argent crined and armed Or.

The motto 'Praedicamus Christum Crucifixum' is a quotation from the Apostle Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians (1Cor1.23), and can be translated as 'We proclaim a crucified Christ.' The inverted Latin Cross symbolises the Bishop's nominal patron, the Apostle Peter. The stars reflect the Southern Cross, which shines out over the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. The lion and the unicorn respectively symbolise the mind and the heart of Love. The meaning of these symbols, while of medieval provenance, is especially associated with the seminal work on Christian love by the English Jesuit, Martin C D'Arcy SJ, The Mind and Heart of Love: Lion and Unicorn, a Study in Eros and Agape.

Coat of arms of Bishop Comensoli

The Diocese of Tigisi in Numidia ('Ain-El-Bordj, Algeria) was created in 1933. It is a titular and not a residential See.

The arms were designed by Mr Richard d'Apice and Fr Guy Selvester and illustrated by Fr Selvester and Mr Sandy Turnbull.


Heraldic appointments in England

The Australian Heraldry Society congratulates Patric Dickinson, Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, and Clive Cheesman, Richmond Herald, on their appointments at the College of Arms, London.

Arms of the College of ArmsThe London Gazette of 9 April 2010: Crown Office House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW 6 April 2010

The QUEEN has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 6 April 2010 to appoint Patric Laurence Dickinson, Esquire, LVO, lately Richmond Herald, to the Office of Norroy and Ulster King of Arms and Principal Herald of the North part of England and of Northern Ireland, vacant by the promotion of Thomas Woodcock, Esquire, LVO, lately Norroy and Ulster King of Arms.

London Gazette of 12 April 2010: Crown Office House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW 7 April 2010

The QUEEN has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 7 April 2010 to grant unto Clive Edwin Alexander Cheesman, Esquire (lately Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms) the Office of Richmond Herald of Arms, vacant by the promotion of Patric Laurence Dickinson, Esquire, L.V.O.


Heraldic appointment in Ireland

Colette O'FlahertyThe Australian Heraldry Society congratulates Colette O’Flaherty on her appointment as Chief Herald of Ireland.

Colette O'Flaherty is a graduate of University College Dublin where she was awarded a BA in history and a post-graduate diploma in archival studies. Her first appointment in the National Library of Ireland was to the Genealogical Office as one of the team brought together, in 1988, to establish the Genealogy Advisory Service.

During the course of her career with the Library, she has been Assistant Keeper in the Department of Manuscripts and has had responsibility for Reader Services, PR and Marketing, and Education and Outreach. In March 2007 she was appointed Keeper of Printed and Visual Collections.

Her appointment as Keeper of Manuscripts and Chief Herald of Ireland took effect on 1 June 2010.


Heraldic appointments in Scotland

Arms of William Sellar, Lord Lyon, drawn by Mark Dennis  There have been a number of recent appointments at the Court of Lord Lyon, including that of Elizabeth Roads as Snawdoun Herald, Adam Bruce as Marchmont Herald, Mark Dennis as Ormond Pursuivant, Yvonne Holton as Dingwall Pursuivant, and John Malden as Unicorn Pursuivant.

The Australian Heraldry Society extends congratulation to all of Scotland's new heralds.




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- last updated on: 2016-01-01