He joined the Bureau of Heraldry as Assistant State Herald in 1977, and was promoted to State Herald in 1982. He retired in 2002.
Brownell designed many coats of arms and flags, including the arms and flag of Namibia in 1990. In 1994, he designed the new South African flag, with a three-armed converging cross of the sort called a pall in heraldry, to symbolise the convergence of different cultures into one for the future South Africa. He later designed arms for the new provincial governments. He was awarded the Order for Meritorious Service in 2000. He has also published many articles and several books on heraldry and flags.
- Heraldry in the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, 1847-2000: coats of arms of the dioceses, collegiate and parish churches, and the Order of Ethiopia. Heraldsholme CC. 2002. ISBN 978-0-620-28606-0.
- National symbols of the Republic of South Africa. Chris van Rensburg Publications. 1995.
- National and provincial symbols and flora and fauna emblems of the Republic of South Africa. C. van Rensburg Publications. 1993. ISBN 978-0-86846-074-1.
- British Immigration to South Africa, 1946-1970. Government Printer. 1985.
- South African Armorial.
- "Fred Brownell: The man who made South Africa's flag". BBC News. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-27.
- Faulkner 2014, p. 92.
- (reported by) FG Brownell (December 1990), Coats of Arms and Flags in Namibia (A series of 8 articles.)
- Brownell 1993.
|State Herald of South Africa
1982 – 2002