The National Medal recognises long and diligent service by members of recognised government and voluntary organisations that risk their lives or safety to protect or assist the community in enforcement of the law or in times of emergency or natural disaster.
This includes government organisations such as ambulance, correctional, emergency, fire and police forces, and voluntary organisations such as lifesaving or search and rescue groups.
The National Medal is Australia’s most awarded civilian medal.
The National Medal was established in 1975 as one of the first three elements of the Australian honours system.
When the medal was first introduced it recognised 15 years of diligent service by members of the Australian Defence Force, Australian police forces, and fire and ambulance services. Subsequently, the Defence Force Service Awards were introduced to recognise long service in the Australian Defence Force.
Since establishment eligibility for the National Medal has progressively expanded to include:
- People who had participated in part-time and volunteer service.
- Members of the Australian Protective Service and correctional and emergency services.
- Members of qualifying volunteer search and rescue groups.
- Government organisations that do not enforce laws.
In addition, provision has been made for an individual’s service to be aggregated more easily across different qualifying organisations, to clarify that psychological trauma alone is sufficient reason to qualify, and to allow periods of service by foreign persons on secondment or exchange.
How it is awarded
The Governor-General awards the National Medal. Nominations are made by the chief officer of the nominee’s organisation. The chief officer of each approved organisation also administers the medal for that organisation. If you consider you are eligible for the National Medal contact your chief officer.
The award recognises long service in approved organisations that protect life and property at some risk to their members.
Many, but not all, eligible groups are uniformed. Fifteen years’ service is required to qualify. Clasps are available for each additional ten years’ service.
Please note there is no application form for the National Medal. Once a person has qualified they may approach their Chief Officer who has responsibility to make nominations to the Governor-General.
For detailed information about eligibility please refer to:
- Chief Officer's manual - DOCX 1MB | PDF 546KB
- Guide to eligible groups - DOCX 32KB | PDF 44KB
- National Medal regulations - DOCX 111KB | PDF 1.1MB
- National Medal approved Voluntary Organisation Determinations DOCX 80KB | PDF 483KB
- National Medal approved Government Organisation Determinations DOCX 77KB | PDF 483KB
The National Medal is a circular bronze medal ensigned with the Crown of St Edward. The front of the medal features the Commonwealth Coat of Arms in a recessed circle. The rim of the medal carries the inscription ‘The National Medal’.
The back of the medal is plain.
The medal was designed by Mr Stuart Devlin AO CMG.
The 32 millimetre-wide ribbon features 15 alternating gold and blue vertical stripes.