Catalogue Number: 2535
Design for a spoof coat of arms (crest) for the Australian College of Optometry
Category: Memorabilia and ephemera
Author: KETT Cyril Woodford
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: c 1943
Place Of Publication/Manufacture: Melbourne
Description Of Item: Drawing of a design for a spurious coat of arms of the Australian College of Optometry, on paper 210 x 203 mm, Indian ink with three cut outs of images from other sources pasted on. Pencil outlines to guide the creator are visible. The chevron is coloured yellow. The motto on the banner at the bottom bears the motto 'I rule or I wreck'. The crest is a raised arm holding a hammer and the supporter on the right is a trumpet. The elements of the shield are a broken chevron, a book and a wrench. Pinned to the drawing is a folded sheet with hand-written notes in pencil explaining the meaning of the components of the coat of arms.
Historical Significance: The drawing and the notes are unsigned but are attributed to Cyril W Kett on the basis of matching the handwriting on the notes to handwriting on material held by the Kett Museum that are signed by Kett or otherwise known to be associated with him. Kett was one of the signatories of the Memorandum of Association establishing the Australian College of Optometry on December 27 1939 and was a foundation councillor and a vice president. He designed the official coat of arms of the College, which was adopted on May 13 1940. See Cat No. 0005. Melbourne optometrist Ernest Jabara was the foundation chairman of the Council of the College and foundation First Vice-President. There was a titular President of the College but he did not normally attend Council meetings so the first vice-president was chairman. Since the College did not have any full-time staff, the chairman also acted as the chief executive officer. Jabara had the vision for the Australian College of Optometry and for a four-year full-time optometry course in part taught by the University of Melbourne. However, he was not a good leader of men nor a good manager. He was arrogant and over-bearing and did not carry his council with him, and worse did not carry the College forward in the practical business of mounting a good optometry course. He fell out with his council over the purchase of gas heater, acting differently from the Council's decisions in this matter and failed to get the Council to support the unauthorised action he had taken in ordering different heaters. He resigned from Council over this and did a great deal of damage to the College by leading a 'reform' group and bringing about a hotly contested schism among optometrists. See Cat Nos 11, 347, 533, 534, 552, 898. Kett succeeded him as Chairman of Council in 1944. This spoof crest reflects on Jaraba's personality and actions in creating this schism. The trumpet symbolises Jabara blowing his on trumpet and there were to be four smaller trumpets representing his main supporters. The other elements are explained in the notes.
How Acquired: Donated by Estate of Cyril W Kett
Location: Archive office. Pamphlet and ephemera filing cabinet. Drawer 6