A Pelican in her Piety
On May 5, 1966 The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) blazon was officially granted. Designed by RCH Surgeon Mr Peter G Jones, the blazon depicted the Rods of Aesculapius, the Lion Rampant, the Southern Cross, two children, and the Australian pelican, Pelecanus Conspicillatus. ‘A pelican in her piety’ is often used in heraldry as a symbol of devotion and sacrifice.
The RCH archives and collections holds several versions of the crest alongside a fully-grown taxidermy specimen of Pelecanus Conspicillatus. This specimen was donated to the hospital by Mr Peter G Jones after he discovered the pelican for sale in a pawnbrokers in the late 1950s. The pelican spent many years residing in the RCH creche and historical room within the previous Parkville hospital. Originally mounted and encased by the National Museum of Victoria, further restoration was undertaken in 2002 by the Preparation Department at Melbourne Museum and then again in 2018.
Thank you to Melbourne Museum Preparation Department for their help in restoring an iconic and much-loved heritage item. The pelican will once again be on display in the newly refurbished Historical Room and Gallery opening 2021.
Fide, Scientia, Et Amore | The faith for science and love.