Enter 'The Badger’

Published on POIS Phil Cullinan (author)

Topic(s): Ceremony and Traditions, Naval Heritage

Paul Burnett holds HMAS Katoomba's badge. (photo: Dept of Defence)
Paul Burnett holds HMAS Katoomba's badge.

Since the birth of the Royal Australian Navy, all ships and establishments have had a badge to represent them, from HMAS Australia's crown on a federation star to the new destroyer, Hobart, it all comes down to one position.

The Manager of Navy Badges, Mr Paul Burnett, currently known as 'The Badger', is the graphic designer entrusted to create badges for the Royal Australian Navy. He has a unique understanding of each emblem, the history and the motto that is given to our ships and bases.

‘The Badger’ has come from a traditional background of graphic design and believes the Navy has given him an unusual way to be creative.

"When I was working in a private firm, it was always very traditional which was template and style based. Working for the Navy is never dull, there is always something new to research on the history of ships," he said.

Every badge that is created for the Navy can take many months from the concept design to then what is to be used for the actual unveiling.

‘The Badger’ sketches and creates three different designs for each badge that is used. Investigations and research are conducted for the mythology, history and any conflict of previous use, and when all parties are happy with the design, it is then up to the Chief of Navy to approve which one will be used for the ship or establishment.

He believes having his creation hang from the side of a warship or establishment is quite an honour.

"It is very intimidating to think that people are going to serve under a badge I have created. It will become part of history; I will be connected to those ships for all eternity."

‘The Badger’ is currently designing the ship's badge for Ocean Protector and liaising with the Commanding Officer. 

As there has been no previous badge design for a ship like this, it has to be created from scratch. 

With over 900 official commissioned and non-commissioned ship, establishment, command, unit, organisation and other badges with logos to search through, it can be a very daunting task even for the most experienced designer.

If you would like to know more about the history of the Navy badges, please visit http://www.navy.gov.au/history/tradition/official-badge-design-and-history.