"ORTA RECENS QUAM PURA NITES-
Newly Risen, How Brightly You Shine"
The State motto, proudly featured on the NSW Coat of Arms, is an important component of the NSW Fire Brigades Logo... but it wasn't featured in the original designs, which were considered and approved by the Board of Fire Commissioners.
District Officer Rogers was, at the time, the Permanent Firemen's Representative on the Board of Fire Commissioners.
In 1977, following a report being furnished by District Officer, Warwick (Buck) Rogers and other senior officers, Chief Officer F. Davies suggested the formation of a Uniform Committee to look into the question of a change in uniform and insignia. Subsequently, members of the service were invited to submit samples of designs for shoulder insignia and cap badges. After considering the various submissions, it was decided that: -
"... the number 2 sample, submitted by Fireman ... (Peter) ... Jentsch, D Platoon, No. 23 Station, Gladesville, would be a suitable design for shoulder insignia and cap badge ...".
The acceptance of Peter's design was to be subject to some minor modification: -
"... The background colour be blue instead of black and the & yellow border to be lighter blue than the background blue."
Peter Jentsch informs that the background colour to his original design was, in fact, a very dark navy blue, not black.
Peter Jentsch, a second-class fireman at the time, originally submitted seven designs mounted on two cardboard backers. Design number two was substantially the same as the current logo. However, it featured a centrally located Waratah where the State 'Coat of Arms' is now located. The torch was of the same design as that of the old logo, which was to be replaced (the torch flame was later modified). Peter's Station Officer, Allen Cox (retired) received a telephone call from the Uniform Committee, some time after the designs were submitted, informing him that Peter's design had been accepted and wanting to know Peter's thoughts on a cap badge. Station Officer Cox passed on Peter's comments to District Officer Rogers that it should be the same, but produced in chrome and enamel.
Logo approved by the Board in April 1978
On the 8th February 1978, the Board directed that sample designs of the proposed new style sleeve insignia be submitted for consideration. Fireman Geoff Hodder of Headquarters, B Platoon prepared a sample, modified according to the specifications of the Uniform Committee and in April that year, the Board considered two adaptations of Peter's design. The Board favoured one in which the centrally located Waratah was replaced with the State Badge, (ie the cross, lion and four stars), and this was officially adopted by the Board on April 5th1978.
The Board requested permission from the Under Secretary of the Premier's Department, to incorporate the State Badge into the new cap badge and shirt sleeve insignia. Permission was granted on 11th May 1978. However, this was not to be the design that featured in the first issue of insignia. In July 1979, the Stores Purchasing Officer was instructed to have a new design prepared, which featured the State Coat of Arms in place of the State Badge. This was presented to the Board for consideration and officially adopted on 17th September 1979.
The first issue, 1979 - note the axe blades facing upwards.
"Despite popular opinion first issue patches & cap badges were issued
in their thousands and are not rare. More difficult to find are door
decals and wall plagues of this first issue."
Another curiosity, regarding the original issue of insignia, concerns the two crossed axes. Originally, as per Peter's design, the axes featured the blades facing upwards. Peter explains "This was the case for no other reason than the axe blades fitted into the design better in the 'up' position, than in the 'down' position." However, it was later discovered that under the conventions of heraldry, this was a sign of aggression, and therefore the axes were later altered to the current downward facing blades.
When first introduced, the logo was produced in two versions. One featured the wording, "New South Wales Fire Brigades". This was used by members of the service. The other featured the wording, "Board of Fire Commissioners NSW". This was only used by the Board. With the abolition of the Board of Fire Commissioners in 1990, the Board's version of the logo was withdrawn.
An early design rejected by the Board in April 1978
Original Cap Design by Peter Jentsch
Board of Fire Commissioners Logo - as featured on the cover of the Annual Report, 1982
This article and pictures are subject to copyright, all past and present logos are registered.