Port Elizabeth Divisional Council
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Civic heraldry of South Africa
PORT ELIZABETH DIVISIONAL COUNCIL / AFDELINGSRAAD
Arms : Per fess: I: per pale: i: two aloes (Aloe ferox); ii: the Gamtoos River bridge (seen from the left bank of the river) with a Kouga mountain peak behind; II: an Addo elephant standing between two prickly pear cactuses.
Crest: a three-masted ship proper in full sail azure, the main mast flying a pennant gules. Crest-wreath: gules and sable.
Motto: Progressus Semper
Although not described all three scenes have grassy foregrounds, red mountains behind and white clouds in the sky.
The arms are rather unheraldic in origin, and were probably never officially registered, but they could possibly have been registered with the Department of National Education, which was not fussy about the "badges" it put on its books. They were in any case used by the council.
The prickly pears (Opuntia ficus-indica) are exotic flora that are no longer regarded as characteristic of the region.
The elephant represents the Addo Elephant National Park, which in fact falls outside the old Port Elizabeth Division - it in fact lay in the (then) Alexandria Division. Elephants are traditionally associated with arms in Port Elizabeth because the city has one - in fact an Indian elephant, derived from an augmentation of honour in the arms of the town's founder, Sir Rufane Donkin. The ship crest appears to imitate that of the city as well.
The arms could have been devised at any time between 1930, when the Gamtoos River bridge became the responsibility of this council, and 1956. Ironically, the bridge was built by the divisional councils of Uitenhage and Humansdorp, because in 1895 when it was erected the Gamtoos River was nowhere near the Port Elizabeth Division.
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