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The Anniversary of National Service 1951-1972 Medal was introduced in 2001 to recognise those who completed their obligation under the two National Service schemes that had operated in Australia between 1951 and 1972.
Eligibility for the medal is dependent upon a person's obligation to serve and upon this obligation being fulfilled under the National Service Act 1951 (As Amended), as it applied to the individual at the time of his service. Additionally, he must not have been discharged for disciplinary reasons. No women were conscripted under the National Service Act.
The medal is bronze with the obverse having a central device derived from the current Australian Defence Force Emblem reflecting, more historically, national service as it related to the defence force during the 1950s and 1960s, with the crossed swords of the Army taking precedence, being the arm predominantly affected by national service. Surrounding the outer edge are the words ‘ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL SERVICE’ and at the central bottom edge the years ‘1951-1972’.
The reverse bears a central device of lines radiating from a nucleus, over-layered with the stars of the Southern Cross, representing national service being influential in the machinery of the defence force during a time of need and its broad impact in Australia. Surrounding the central device is a cog, the traditional symbol representing the spirit of cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and the Australian community, thus recognising those who accepted the obligation to serve as part of national service.
The ribbon has a central yellow stripe, flanked by two dark blue stripes, which are in turn flanked by white, green and light blue stripes and ochre edges. The central yellow and dark blue stripes represent Australia's national colours of the time, the white, green and light blue represent the Navy, Army and Air Force and the outer ochre stripes represent the soil of Australia.
The medal is worn in the position notified by the Governor-General in The Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards