Friends of Grasslands

supporting native grassy ecosystems

PO Box 440
Jamison Centre
Macquarie ACT 2614


Territory Coat of Arms - Community Reference Group


Dear Sir/Madam

Territory emblems

Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra and its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.

We understand that the ACT Government is about to review the emblems which represent and celebrate the Australian Capital Territory. While, as a small community group, we do not have the resources to participate in either the Community Reference Group or the YourSay Community Panel for this project, we would like to present our thoughts on this matter for your consideration.

Canberra is fortunate in having not only bushland but rare species and ecological communities both in surrounding lands and throughout the urban fabric itself. These include the critically endangered ecological communities Natural Temperate Grassland and Box-Gum Grassy Woodland, as well as dependent species such as the Grassland Earless Dragon, Striped Legless Lizard, Pink Tailed Worm Lizard and Golden Sun Moth (all listed as endangered or vulnerable).

FOG’s view is that the ACT’s emblems should reflect the natural values of the ACT in some form. Usually this is done via high profile flora and fauna (the kangaroo and emu on Australia’s coat of arms being an example). However, we would like to suggest consideration of a perhaps lower profile but uniquely Canberran symbol that reflects our natural heritage. This would follow along the lines of the Royal Bluebell (Wahlenbergia gloriosa), which is a small alpine/sub-alpine species, as our floral emblem. We would see the use of such a symbol as not only highlighting the unique natural heritage of the ACT but also raising the profile of this unique heritage both within the Canberran community and nationally.

We are not sure what sorts of symbols you might be considering, but some possibilities from grassy ecosystems include: kangaroo grass (Themeda australis) flower head, Grassland Earless Dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla), Golden Sun Moth (Synemon plana). We would be happy to discuss further possibilities with you.

We also consider that Canberra’s deep past should be recognised, including our first nationals’ people.

Yours sincerely


Geoff Robertson

8 March 2021