11th November 2023

Rising Sun Imagery

Although not exclusive* to the nation of Australia, the Rising Sun imagery has none-the-less become a part of the Australian consciousness. Its use preceeded federation, as it was adopted by those hoping for a united and prosperous nation to emerge from the separate colonies.

By 1821 there was a Rising Sun Hotel in Sydney. There were similarly named hotels, clubs, even gold mines, throughout the colonies. At a concert in Sydney during 1826 there was displayed a painting including “the real or assumed” arms of Australia, possibly similar to that below.

State Library NSW, Mitchell Library. possibly 1821. The artist is unknown.

The term was used in poetic odes to the country. It was used on trade tokens during the 1850s.

The Australian (Sydney), 22nd July 1826 page 3.

Museums Victoria 1858. Item #NU 4564.

*The Imperial Japanese army adopted a Rising Sun Flag in 1870, although it had origins dating from the 6-7th centuries. Various companies, such as P & O, included it their heraldry: http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/10th-june-2022/

After federation it became a popular architectural motif, symbolising the optimisim of the new nation. Hoadley’s even made a “Rising Sun” jam!

Punch (Melbourne), 5th October 1911 page 31. Children in dress-up representing Hoadley’s Rising Sun jam.

In 1907 it became part of the NSW coat of arms.

Evening Journal (Adelaide), 2nd March 1907 page 4.

The “Rising Sun” shoulder and hat badges were first used in 1902 during the Boer War, and were afterwards adapted for the new Australian Military Forces from 1903-4. (see tommorow’s post). The motive also formed part of regimental badges, both official and unofficial, and various war service badges. During WW1 a ‘Rising Sun’ newspaper was produced by the Australian Army to entertain men of the A.I.F. during 1916-1917.

Tweed Daily (Qld), 13th August 1940 page 4.

Unofficial badge of the Camel Corps. WW1.

Pix magazine: 12th January 1952 p2 .

Bendigo Military Museum. 29th battalion badge, post 1945. https://victoriancollections.net.au/items/582ba1cfd0cdd1275464f7d5








Australian War Museum: Machine Gun Corps sweetheart brooch, WW2.

From Wikipedia. various schools made individualised Rising Sun cadet badges.

14th ALH regiment badge: thanks to diggerhistory (http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-badges/light-horse.htm)









Australian War Museum. Australian Tank Corps badge1930s.

For the 27th Battalion (South Australian Scottish regiment): https://www.militaria-sales.com.au/product/27th-battalion-south-australian-scottish-regiment-white-metal-hat-badge-1930-to-1942/

For further information: