Armoria academica

ALEXANDER ROAD HIGH SCHOOL, Adcockvale Extension, Port Elizabeth

Afrikaanse blasoen

Alexander Road High

Arms registered by the Bureau of Heraldry on 30 November 1966, certificate No 21. They are blazoned:

Arms: Per pall inverted Vert, Gules and Argent, dexter a discus thrower argent, sinister an open book argent and in base an antique lamp Vert, inflamed Gules.


Not mentioned in the blazon but included in the illustration are a fillet pall and a narrow border in gold. Also, although the blazon mentions an antique lamp, the drawing shows a candlestick with a distinct candle below the flame.

About the arms:
The school’s livery colours, taken from the arms, are green, red and white, but they are usually shown in combination with brown, the colour of the school blazer; it is predominant in any display of the school’s colours. This feature the school has in common with its neighbour, Hoërskool Andrew Rabie.

The shield is divided into three parts by a pairle or pall, a heraldic device familiar from the national flag of South Africa as used since 27 April 1994 (where it appears in green), but in fact derived from a liturgical garment known as a pallium, the traditional gift from the Pope to a new bishop in recognition of his status and worn over the bishop’s chasuble.

Both the pallium and the heraldic pall are normally in an upright Y-shape; the inverted Y seen here is called a pall inverted.

The first division (third) of the shield shows a classical statue of a discus thrower, blazoned as argent (silver or white) but clearly taking its colour from the white marble used for vast numbers of classical statues, both Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman. Since the drawing is in the Ancient Greek style, the athlete is naked and male, as the athletes of the ancient Olympic Games always were. (For more about this aspect, see this page.)

In classical times, such statues were invariably painted (in skin tones and other natural colours), but neglect during the Dark Age meant that most remaining statues were reduced to bare stone or metal, giving rise to the erroneous Renaissance idea that classical statuary was meant to be in bare stone or metal, especially white marble.

This figure represents the physical component in the education offered at Alex, as the school is popularly known.

The second division shows an open book, blazoned as proper, meaning that the pages are white. The book is a symbol of learning, and its pages are blank, symbolising the fact that the pupils are writing their own futures.

According to the blazon, the third division (the base) shows an antique lamp, symbolising the spiritual component in what the school offers. However, the illustration clearly shows a candle on a green candleholder, an anomaly which has not been explained.

Heraldry has a rule of thumb concerning colours that regards silver (or white) and gold (or yellow) as metals, and other colours, like green and red, as tinctures. To provide a clear contrast, the rule of thumb states that tincture is not placed next to tincture, nor metal next to metal.

Since the first two divisions both have tinctures for the field, they are separated by a narrow pall in or (gold/yellow). The whole is also surrounded by a narrow border of or. This does, however, create the anomaly that the base division, being argent, is then surrounded by metal. It is also curious that the blazon does not mention these gold elements.

(The black lines in the design are largely there for the convenience of being able to define the areas of colour.They are not regarded as having any existence of their own from a heraldic point of view.)

The motto translates as “Nothing without work”, pointing to the school’s emphasis on the pupil’s contribution to his or her own education, as well as to the effort put into education by the staff.

There is no crest. While many coats of arms include a crest, and some more than one, it is not essential to an armorial device to include one.

About the school:
Alexander Road High is an co-educational English-medium State school from Grade 8 to 12 (previously Std 6 to 10) serving Newton Park and surrounding suburbs. A brochure put out by the school states:

“Our school was born on 24 January 1955 in pre-fabricated buildings on the grounds of the Hoërskool Andrew Rabie. There were 155 pupils, the principal, Mr Winston Cordingley, and 5 teachers. Three additional classrooms for ‘standard sixes’ were later opened on Seventh Avenue, Newton Park. In 1956 we moved to our present home.”

This “present home” is Alexander Road, Adcockvale Extension; Adcockvale Extension being a small township at the northern end of the larger suburb of Newton Park, and a western extension of Adcockvale proper, a slightly larger township which lies to the north of the Greenacres shopping mall. Adcockvale Extension and Adcockvale both lie along the northern edge of the plateau on which Newton Park and other suburbs along Cape Road lie. The two small townships are separated by a ravine down which Langenhoven Drive passes, linking Kempston Road and the suburbs north of the bluff to Newton Park and Greenacres on the plateau.

“Over the years additions and alterations have been carried out to cater for the ever-increasing drive to provide quality education at Alex. These additions include our restaurant complex, solar heated swimming and waterpolo pool, the music block, auditorium and state-of-the-art computer laboratories.”

The school takes its name from Alexander Road, which in turn was named for John Alexander Gordon, a Port Elizabeth dentist who was one of the first shareholders in the Fairview Land, Estate and Development Company. The company bought the farm Fairview (roughly half of the farm Baakens River) around the beginning of the 20th century and developed it as township land. Newton Park was its initial main development, while Adcockvale Extension was a later addition.

The school was established by the Cape Education Department as an institution for the education of white pupils only. It was not able to change this racial limitation until 1992, when it chose to adopt an admission policy that made it open to pupils of all races. For more information on this option, see here.

More information about the school can be learned from the school’s own website.

Afrikaanse blasoen:
Die wapen kan in Afrikaans so geblasoeneer word:

Wapen: Omgekeerd gaffelsgewys in drieë gedeel, groen, rooi en silwer, regs ’n diskuswerper in silwer, links ’n oop boek in silwer, en onder ’n antieke lamp van groen met ’n rooi vlam.

Leuse: Nil sine labore.

Wat nie in die blasoen genoem word nie, is ’n streep-gaffel en ’n streepsoom van goud. En alhoewel die blasoen ’n antieke lamp noem, toon die tekening ’n kershouer met ’n duidelike kers onder die vlam.


Back to top of page

Sources: information and illustration provided by the school

Back to schools index

Terug na skole-indeks (Afrikaans)

Back to Armoria academica index

Back to Armoria index

Remarks, inquiries: Mike Oettle