Types of Australian Defence Medals, Honours and Awards

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is the military organisation of Australia consisting of the Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Australian Air Force.

These three branches are supported by several civilian agencies, including the Department of Defence, which provides additional funding for equipment and other things such as health care for ADF members.

The ADF has several types of awards, such as bravery decorations, distinguished service medals, and commendations for acts of gallantry or meritorious service. These recognise those who have served in the military with distinction.

ADF medals for our national servicemen

There are many different types of recognition that ADF personnel can receive, broken up into four categories including:

Honours and decorations

There are many types of honours and decorations, including bravery awards for acts of courage in hazardous circumstances, military recognition for gallantry or distinguished service in war-like operations, long-service to recognise periods of unbroken service by members of the Defence Force, and civil decorations presented to citizens who have rendered meritorious public service or contributed to national development.

Imperial Awards

ADF personnel have been presented medals in several conflicts and peacekeeping operations since 1945. These include the Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Confrontation and Vietnam War.

The ADF Imperial Awards are a series of medals presented to Australians before 1975. These included the Order of the British Empire, military decorations for gallantry, and decorations for serving in the military. In 1991 Australian commendations were available to recognise all services previously recognised through the British Imperial system.

Australian honours

The Honours system is a series of orders, decorations and other honours awarded by the sovereign state of Australia. It was established in 1975 to replace British imperial honours bestowed on local citizens until that time. Awards are conferred for various reasons such as military service, bravery or merit.

A decision that there be no further Imperial Awards was made at this time as well. This means that all future campaign medals are now issued under the Honours System. Eligibility criteria is determined by DVA/Defence policy, rather than by British Government policy or precedent set during World War II, or earlier periods of conflict such as Korea, Malaya or Vietnam.

Foreign Awards

These are issued by international and foreign bodies to recognise the efforts of ADF personnel and approved to be worn by the ADF. These include:

  • Multinational Force and Observers Medal
  • NATO Medal with Clasp ISAF
  • NATO Medal with Clasp Afghanistan
  • Pingat Jasa Malaysia
  • Republic of Korea War Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation
  • Saudi Arabian Medal for the Liberation of Kuwait

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