Description of Medals
The Cross of Valour is the highest civilian award that Australia can confer, being higher than the Companion of the Order of Australia.
The Cross of Valour (Gold), the Star of Courage (Silver) and Bravery Medal (Bronze) each have ribbons of different combinations of magenta and blood red, representing the colours of venous and arterial blood.
The medals for these awards each have a different design but share the common elements of the Australian Coat of Arms and the Federation Star. They are ensigned with the Crown of St Edward and are suspended from the ribbon by a bar inscribed “For Valour”, “For Courage” or “For Bravery”, depending on the award.
The Commendation for Brave Conduct is a silver-gilt badge featuring a sprig of wattle mounted on a blood-red backing ribbon.
The Group Citation for Bravery is a bronze and silver rectangular badge, with a multi leaf sprig of wattle representing the nature of group participation – the coming together of the many to create a single entity.
Cross of Valour – Recipients are entitled to use the postnominals CV after their name.
Star of Courage – Recipients are entitled to use the postnominals SC after their name.
Bravery Medal – Recipients are entitled to use the postnominals BM after their name.
The Unit Citation for Gallantry, the Meritorious Unit Citation and the Group Bravery Citation are not positioned in The Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards. For members of uniformed services, they should be worn in accordance with the dress rules of the particular Service concerned. Civilian personnel awarded the Group Bravery Citation should wear the insignia on the left lapel or left breast. Should other honours or awards have been awarded, the Group Bravery Citation should be worn centrally, approx 10mm above these.
How to Wear Medals on Civilian Clothing
Recipients receive a full-size piece of insignia and a miniature. They may also receive a ribbon bar or a small lapel badge.
Recipients of Imperial awards are invested with the main piece of insignia and can purchase privately ribbon bars and miniatures.
Full size insignia is normally worn at daytime social occasions, placed on the left side of the coat or dress, above the left breast. Full size insignia is worn at ceremonies for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day observances and at formal social gatherings where the wearing of insignia has been mentioned in the invitation.
Miniatures are normally worn only at evening occasions and placed in the same position as full size insignia. Invitations normally state if decorations are to be worn.
Some awards, such as the Companion in the Order of Australia have a neck badge and some Imperial awards have large breast stars. These should be worn as well as the miniatures.
Lapel badges are a feature of many Australian awards and recipients may wear them as often as they can when other insignia is not being worn.
Ribbon bars are not worn on civilian attire, but may be worn on the left hand side on the uniforms of most public services: police and fire services, parliamentary attendants, etc, in accordance with the uniform codes of those services.