Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

What will Dame Edna say?

I saw in the Times today that Tony Abbott, the staunchly monarchist Prime Minister of Australia, has announced the reintroduction of the classes of Knight or Dame of the Order of Australia. These classes, added a year after its first foundation, were removed from the Order's ranks in 1986. The first appointments are those of the outgoing Governor General, Quentin Bryce, as a Dame, and of General Peter Cosgrove, her successor in office, as a Knight. The Governor General will act as senior Knight or Dame ex officio, as well as being Chancellor of the Order, and up to four appointments will be made each year. There is a further report, with more background and comment than the Times article, from the Guardian which can be read here.

There is an online account of the Order, first established in 1975, its structure and insignia, here. The statutes and history of the Order can be seen at Order of Australia, and the Australian Government website about the Order is here

Companion of the Order of Australia - front 

Companion of the Order of Australia
The design of the Companion of the Order of Australia is a badge with a gold insignia of the Order in the centre.
The central insignia is circled with blue enamel edged in gold with citrines and is inscribed with the word ‘Australia’ in gold capital letters. The circle also contains two gold sprigs of mimosa.
The insignia is ensigned with the Crown of St Edward in full colour.
The medal is hung from the ribbon of the Order. It is royal blue with a central band of mimosa blossoms.


The other classes of the Order - Officer and Member, and the Medal  - are similar in design.

This insignia will now be rejoined by that of Knights and Dames as appointed between 1976 and 1986:

Knight: Badge

Dame: Badge

Insignia of a Knight and of a Dame of the Order

Knight or Dame: Star

Star of the Order


Personally I think this is an excellent move, re-establishing a category to honour the most distinguished Australians in an appropriate and dignified way. Which brings me back to the title of this post - was Dame Edna self-promoted to an Imperial or an Australian honour?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As an appointment by Gough Whitlam I would say an "Australian" honour ;-)