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The stories behind our crests

The Waverley College Crest

The Waverley College Crest

The most obvious feature of the College crest is the gold star. This star has long been associated with the traditional crest of the Christian Brothers, the founders of the College. As the star shines in the darkness it is symbolic of enlightenment and instruction, both key elements in the mission of a College such as Waverley, following in the tradition of Blessed Edmund Rice.

The star also indicates another allusion to Mary as Stella Maris, the star of the sea. Given its long-standing devotion to Our Lady, evident in the name of the College site as Our Lady’s Mount, together with the Sodality of Our Lady and the Annual May Procession, this allusion is highly appropriate. Just as generations of seafarers used the stars for guidance, Mary’s life as the Mother of God is seen as a guide for our own lives.

Although there is no official description of the other parts of the badge, there is some evidence to suggest that the Brothers taught their classes that four of the five gold bars stood for the four Cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Fortitude, while the fifth bar related to the three Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.

The College colours of blue and gold are probably borrowed from the heraldic descriptions where blue (azure) is associated with Truth and Loyalty, while gold (or) is symbolic of Generosity.

Virtus Sola Nobilitat, the words inscribed beneath the crest, have been translated in a number of ways over the years. The most literal translation is ‘Virtue alone enobles’, but in more recent times the College has adopted ‘Virtue is its own reward’ as more appropriate, suggesting that a man should not be motivated by a potential reward, but rather by the knowledge that whatever he does should be fundamentally good in itself.

The 8 Waverley College Crests


Aungier House

Aungier is represented by the colour Red and is named after Br MA Aungier who brought a religious depth to the school during his time of service on the staff from 1904-14. During this time, Br Aungier founded the Sodality of Our Lady as well as conducting the first May Day Procession, which had its centenary in 2010, keeping the beliefs of the College and Br Aungier alive in the College today.

The colour red symbolises Energy, Strength and Passion. All of these traits were exhibited by Br Aungier and are qualities that members of the Aungier community should strive for during their time at Waverley. The gold star at the top of the crest represents the connection between the House and Waverley College and represents that we are part of the College community.

The Blue ‘Y’ also represents the relationship that Aungier has with the Waverley community as the blue and gold are the Waverley colours. The gold colour symbolises generosity to those in need, in the spirit of our Edmund Rice Heritage.

The Anchor represents hope and religious steadfastness. This relates to Br Aungier, with his passion for his faith and for his contribution of the May Day Procession to the life of the College.

The symbol of the Eagle represents strength, bravery and alertness, all key elements for the Waverley community to strive towards in their studies and co-curricular activities. The Eagle also holds a relationship to the motto with its Roman heritage. The Motto Veni Vidi Vici translates to “I came, I saw, I conquered”. The Motto was composed by Julius Caesar in 47 BC describing his victories over his adversaries.

The Motto reminds us of the competition between the opposing Houses. The Eagle represents the might of Caesar which was used in the Roman Empire. This is a strong symbol for Aungier and evokes a sense of community.

Brennan House

Brennan Crest is mostly covered in royal Blue which is our house colour. The colour blue represents truth and loyalty, which is something that everyone brings to their group or clan. The line of Black represents our quality of being enduring and free from change or variation.

January 1926 paved the way for one of the first Old Boys of the College, Br Louis Brennan, admired for ‘his gentleness, wit and breadth of culture’, to take up the post as the ninth Headmaster of the College. In our House, everyone competes and everyone helps out. The flame at the bottom is what keeps us enthusiastic, eager, intense and passionate. It symbolises the spirit of our House and the fire that burns in us every time one of us steps out onto the track or into the pool and when we cheer our House members on.

The Dragon to the left is a symbol of Br Brennan’s might and power. The Dragon is perhaps the most powerful animal symbol of all in Celtic mythology. The dragon symbolises the whole of creation, in the might of the earth and in the bending of the rivers. It also represents a guardian or an obstacle against physical or spiritual gain. Like the Dragon, we too are valiant in competing for our House. The sword to the right is said to be the emblem of military honour and should incite the bearer to a just and generous pursuit of honour and virtue. It is symbolic of liberty and strength. We as a House must always step up to a challenge and overcome it. As a group we strive for victory and hunger for more for the good name of our House.

The star to the top symbolises goodness and excellence. Not only does this star shine above our crest, but it is also represented in the crest of our school. We represent our School as we do our House.

Conlon House

Br PA Conlon was Headmaster of the College 1905-08, 1910-13 and 1916-21. During his first term of office, the number of students on the roll increased from 27 to over 100. He taught every subject in the senior class and was sometimes referred to as ‘an early great’.

Conlon House uses an emerald green colour. The significance of this particular colour on the Conlon House Crest is that, in heraldry, it represents hope, joy and loyalty. The Crest bears a battle axe angled diagonally up to the right, positioned through quadrants one and three. The battle axe is symbolic of the execution of military duty. The Conlon Crest also has a gold lightning bolt situated in the fourth quadrant which symbolises swiftness and power. This can be connected to the meaning of the battle axe as it takes great power and swiftness to execute military duty, which represents Conlon House and the work carried out by Br Conlon as one of the first Headmasters and leaders of Waverley College. The Cross that divides the crest into four quadrants symbolises faith and service in the Crusades which further alludes to the military honour and power represented by the axe and lightning bolt. Finally, a gold star is present within the second quadrant which is extracted from the Waverley College Crest showing how Conlon House is a crucial part of the Waverley College community.

The Conlon House Motto fixed underneath the Crest itself reads ‘Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam’. This phrase is Latin for ‘I’ll either find a way, or make one’. This sentence has been attributed to Hannibal; when his generals told him it was impossible to cross the Alps by elephant, this was his response. The first part of the sentence, ‘inveniam viam’, ‘I shall find a way’, also appears in other contexts in the tragedies of Seneca, and spoken by Hercules and by Oedipus – all extremely significant and heroic within history and mythology. This motto emphasises the strong-minded nature and willingness of the Conlon House, determined to achieve success and victory by any means necessary. This motto is further reinforced by the symbols on the crest: the battle axe, the lightning bolt and the cross.

Green House

Br WV Green was on the College staff for two periods, 1916-28 and 1952-53. He was Headmaster from 1933-1938. Great progress was made during his time – the roll call reached over 600 students, Queens Park playing fields were secured, ‘The Grange’ in Carrington Road was purchased and the Boarding School was opened. He also bought the residence in Birrell Street where the Administration building now stands.

The house motto, E pluribus unum – ‘out of many, one’ or more simply ‘strength in unity’ was originally written in the Moretum, a poem by Virgil, one of Rome’s most famous poets. Virgil was also the first name of Brother Green. The idea of ‘strength in unity’ is not only espoused through the Green House community, but through the greater Waverley College community and friends. In unity of a group there is great power and force to meet a single focus and objective. The community of Green House uses these qualities to live up to the values set by Waverley College. For obvious reasons the colour ‘bottle green’ was associated with Brother Virgil Green. The colour brings to mind emotions of hope for all, joy in life and, most importantly, loyalty to each other and the College. The second prominent colour is the gold star, which indicates a connection to the blue and gold colours of Waverley College. The gold suggests generosity to those in need of elevation of the mind, body and spirit, virtues shared in abundance by not only the Green House community but also the greater Waverley College community.

In heraldic terms, the armoured arm, signifies a person with the rare qualities of leadership and guidance of others. This image is combined with the representation of the unicorn, a mythical beast which denotes extreme courage in the face of adverse situations, the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance and the strength to guide and lead the College in a noble fashion. Finally, the star represents a person of noble excellence and suggests religious connections to the Catholic faith and to the Australian identity represented in the Southern Cross. Most importantly, it is linked to the Waverley star, denoted on all the House Crests. The star suggests not only unity in the Green House, but unity of all Houses under the banner of Waverley College.

The motto’s meaning is recognised throughout the heraldic crest. Firstly, the colours are green and gold, which are attributed to qualities such as loyalty and generosity. Without loyalty and generosity to each other and the College, there would be no strength in the unity of a group. The Arm and Unicorn are both strong images of leadership and courage, which are integral to the bonds that give strength to a unified group.

Lacey House

Br JP Lacey was a staff member from 1930-43 and 1966-69, and was Headmaster of Waverley College from 1948-53. He also held the positions of Sports Master and Deputy Headmaster and is still greatly admired by the Old Boys’ Union today. The College Gymnasium is named after him as a tribute to the great work and the effort he put into the College. He was also a renowned sportsman.

Lacey House is recognised by the Maroon color, a shade of red signifying themes of love through to strength and determination under adverse conditions. The House Crest bears a Lion centered in the middle of the shield. The lion is symbolic of the Lacey House motto ‘Never Give Up’. The primary symbolic meaning for the Lion is strength but also Courage, Power, Royalty, Dignity, Authority, Dominion, Justice, Wisdom and Ferocity. These are all attributes of the Lacey House community .

The separate quadrants which align on the shield and are coloured half Maroon and half White, signify Honor, Loyalty and Courage, alluding to the qualities exhibited by Br Lacey during his time at the College.

Lastly, two gold stars are presented in two of the quadrants, these two stars are extracted from the Waverley College School Crest indicating Lacey House’s loyalty to the overall community of Waverley College.

The Lacey House Motto situated underneath the crest reads ‘Nil Desperandum’. This phrase is Latin for ‘Never Give Up’. This quote emphasises the Willingness, Dignity and Power that represent the nature of Lacey House, the courage and determination to continue and pursue success and power by never giving up. The motto is further emphasised by the Lion situated on the crest alongside the shield.

O’Connor House

Br MM O’Connor, after whom the House is named, was Headmaster of the College for two periods, 1945-48 and 1957-66. During his second period as Headmaster he was responsible for the construction of the main building at the highest point of Our Lady’s Mount. He was notable for his energy and great capacity for work, qualities that O’Connor House members try to attain in their time at Waverley and beyond.

The main symbols on the O’Connor crest are the griffin, the shamrock and the star. In heraldry, the griffin combines the symbolic qualities of two solar creatures, the lion and the eagle. It is the king of birds and lord of the air united with the king of beasts and lord of the earth. Griffins are a symbol of the sun, wisdom, vengeance, strength, and salvation.

The griffin’s ability to soar like an eagle made him an emblem of poetic and spiritual inspiration. The griffin’s dual nature led it to be associated with Jesus Christ, God and man, king of heaven and earth. The eagle half of the griffin signified Christ’s divinity and the lion half represented his humanity. During the Middle Ages, griffins were symbols of Christ’s resurrection. The strength of the lion and the wisdom of the eagle combined in the griffin symbolised the strength and wisdom of God.

The shamrock was chosen as a symbol to represent O’Connor House as Br O’Connor himself was of Irish descent. It is seen on the top righthand side of the crest.

Shamrocks are symbolic of aspirations that deal with growth, success, good health and achievement. This is largely due to the colour, as green is typically associated with refinement, well-being and satisfaction. Also, the smell of clover is sweet, and studies have shown it induces a feeling of calm – this also adds to the symbolism of attainment and contentment associated with shamrocks.

The five-pointed star shown on the top lefthand side of the crest is common among all house crests to signify Waverley College.

Quinn House

The Quinn House crest incorporates many different themes that have been moulded together to typify Quinn House. In preparing the crest and motto, the house members were asked to include the House’s heritage, aspects of Waverley College, and also what we believed signified Quinn House’s spirit.

Our use of colouring has incorporated many of these ideas. Firstly, the light blue is the house’s colour, and gold is one of Waverley’s colours. Black is a symbol of power which we believed fitting considering Br Quinn, who our house was named after, was the first Headmaster of Waverley College.

The main feature of the crest is the Celtic Lion, symbolising Brother Quinn’s Irish Heritage. It also conveys values of loyalty, dignity, power and leadership. These are qualities which are inherent within members of the Quinn House.

The gold star is how we have incorporated Waverley College into our crest as it is part of the Waverley College Crest. Finally the cross, which is known as a Cross Crosslet Fitchee, is a symbol of the Holy Trinity of the Catholic Church, which our school is founded on, and also the notion of comradeship, which is essential to the wellbeing of our House.

Our House motto was chosen last year and translates to ‘He conquers twice, who conquers himself in victory’. This was chosen as a way of spurring on our House members as we feel as it is extremely inspirational. The message it conveys is that once one has conquered himself they will be able to get twice as much out of life. It seems an appropriate motto for our House whose members are always striving to do good in all activities we participate in.

Tevlin House

At the beginning of 1922, Br De Sales Tevlin became the seventh Headmaster of Waverley College and changes were made. The 1922 annual distribution of prizes was moved from December to May, since December found both Brothers and boys exhausted, and in its new time slot, the school filled the 2500-seat Randwick Theatre to capacity ‘with immense enthusiasm’.

The main symbols chosen for the House crest are the snake and the tiger.

The snake or serpent is one of the oldest and most complex of symbols, representing strength, protection and re-birth. The underlying representations throughout the many meanings are paradoxical – part protective, part destructive. It is a source of strength and power, yet also potentially dangerous.

In Egypt, an upright hooded cobra snake was a powerful protective symbol. It represented the royal power of the pharaohs and their ability to strike down any enemies. In India, cobra divinities were also used as symbols of guardians. The psychologist Carl Jung adopted the emblem as a representation of homeopathic medicine and it is still used today.

The ancient Chinese animal symbol of the tiger is an emblem of dignity, ferocity, sternness and courage. Also a symbol of protection, the image of a tiger is often seen on clothing or in the home to ward off any semblance of harm and assure safekeeping.

Another image of the tiger is the supremacy of intangible forces, and our ability to harness the tiger’s power in our lives. And so it is for the students of Tevlin House – strength in numbers and protection for all those belonging to the House.