The Colours & Emblem
“True to the Blue”
New South Wales – Why the name?
Originally part of “New Holland”, It became known as “New South Wales” after Cook’s exploration of the east coast of what was then called “New Holland” and is now called “Australia” in 1770, although whether Cook personally at the time called it New South Wales, and if so, why, is still a subject of doubt and scholarly speculation. Possibly Cook originally called it “New Wales”, by analogy with the islands of “New Britain”, which had originally been part of New Guinea. What is certain is that the name emerged later after he had dispatched his Journal to the Admiralty. Why “Wales” and why “South Wales” will probably never be known.
Royal Blue –why the colour?
When inter-colonial cricket commenced in the 1850s, the Victorians wore dark blue trousers and white shirts. NSW wore white trousers and light blue shirts. They became known as the “Light Blues”. In 1904-5, the colour changed to Royal Blue. The colour remains Royal Blue and the NSW team still remains known by its traditional name as “the Blues”.
Comparison to “the Green and Gold”
“The Blues” can trace their origin approximately 40 years before the adoption of the traditional Australian “Green and Gold”, which were not adopted as national colours till the Australian tour to England in 1899 nor for home Tests until after Federation in 1902. Prior to that time it had been customary in home Tests to wear the colours of the State in which the match was played-i.e.-dark blue in Victoria and light blue in NSW.
The first Australian touring team to England in 1878 wore black and white; the 1880 team –faded magenta and black; the 1882 team wore the colours of the 96thregiment-red, black and yellow. That then changed to the red white and blue of the Melbourne Cricket Club, although once, the light blue caps of the East Melbourne Club were used. By 1890, the team had adopted dark blue blazers and caps, with gold trim with, for the first time, the Australian Coat of Arms. It was the 1899 team to England that first adopted the Green and Gold, but it was not until 1902 at the MCG that the Green and Gold were worn in a home Test. Thus the Royal Blue colours adopted by the Cricketers’ Club of New South Wales arguably have an older provenance, dating back to the 1850s, than the national colours which only date to the turn of the century.
The Emblem-Why the Cross of St George?
The emblem is taken from the Coat of Arms of the Colony, originally designed in 1875-6, and subsequently formally granted by King Edward VII in 1906 and described as: “Azure, a Cross Argent, voided Gules a lion passant guardant and on each member with a Mullet of eight points Or“. [I.e.- a red cross with a golden lion at the centre and stars at each point.]
The gold crossed bats need no explanation. The cross of St George is English as is the lion, and not Welsh. The design comes from the British Royal Navy White Ensign, with whom its co-designer Captain Hixson, President of the Marine Board was closely connected.
The connection is with England or perhaps Britain as the home country, not with Wales. It remains the official Coat of Arms of New South Wales.