Australian Defence Medal

Australian Defence Medal (obverse)Australian Defence Medal (reverse)

The Australian Defence Medal (ADM) has been established to recognise Australian Defence Force Regular and Reserve personnel who have demonstrated their commitment and contribution to the nation by serving for an initial enlistment period or four years service whichever is the lesser.

Her Majesty the Queen approved the Regulations and Letters Patent for the medal on 20 March 2006 and these were promulgated in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette S48 of 30 March 2006


The Australian Defence Medal recognises Australian Defence Force personnel who have efficiently completed either:

whichever is the lesser, and all of the relevant service was after 3 September 1945.

Included are former Defence Force members who did not complete the qualifying period because they:

World War II

World War II veterans are not eligible for the Australian Defence Medal unless they completed the qualifying service after 3 September 1945. The Australia Service Medal 1939-45 is the Australian award for the recognition of World War II service.


The medal is cupro-nickel with the stylised version of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms used on the Australia Service Medal 1939-45 surrounded by the inscription 'THE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE MEDAL' above a sprig of wattle on the obverse.

The reverse has the inscription 'FOR SERVICE' below the Crown of St Edward all surrounded by a wattle wreath. The use of the wreath acknowledges the sacrifice of those who have died in service or been discharged due to injury resulting from service, a secondary qualification for the medal.


The ribbon is red with black edges, the colours of the Flanders poppy that represent the Anzac spirit of the Australian armed forces. The white stripes divide the ribbon into three, to denote the three Services and also represent service contributing to the peace of Australia .

How to apply for the ADM

Ex-Serving Members

Applications should be made to Defence Honours and Awards, Department of Defence.

Application form are available here. They are also available from the RSL and other Ex-Service Organisations.

It is important that applicants provide proof of service with their application. This can include a certified true copies of Certificates of Service or Discharge Certificates or any other official documents which confirm the length of service.

Ex-serving personnel who do not have certificates of service or other supporting documentation, should not contact Central Army Records Office, Navy records or RAAF records. Their applications should be submitted to DH&A, who will contact the service archives on behalf of applicants.

Permanent Members

Most current serving full-time members will be assessed using automated reports from PMKeyS. As not all permanent members are captured through this process it may be necessary to contact DH&A regarding the status of the award.

Reserve Members

Reserve members must submit an application to DH&A. Reservists should have their application certified by their current Commanding Officer as this will expedite the assessment process.

Reserve members, who have previously been awarded a long service award for fifteen or more years service will still need to apply. This is essential to ensure current contact/address details are recorded by DH&A for dispatch of the medal.

Additional Information

ADM Questions and Answers

Honours and Awards Manual

Chapter 32 ADM

Web page last updated 19 March, 2014