Victoria Cross for Australia
Recipients of the Victoria Cross for Australia
About the Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross for Australia is the pre-eminent award for acts of bravery in wartime and Australia's highest honour.
It is awarded for the most conspicuous gallantry, or a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.
The Victoria Cross for Australia was instituted in the Australian honours system by Letters Patent on 15 January 1991.
It replaced the British or Imperial Victoria Cross. The Victoria Cross for Australia has been awarded three times.
The Victoria Cross was created by Queen Victoria in 1856. The medals are all made from cannons captured during the Crimea War (1854-1856) and are all handmade by Hancocks and Company (Jewellers) of London.
Until the Victoria Cross for Australia was created in 1991, Australians were eligible for the Victoria Cross and other awards under the Imperial system of honours.
The Victoria Cross for Australia has been awarded three times for action in Afghanistan. The first was awarded to Corporal Mark Donaldson VC on 16 January 2009 and the second to Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith VC MG on 23 January 2011. The third was awarded to Corporal Daniel Keighran, VC on 1 November 2012.
The Imperial Victoria Cross has been awarded to 96 Australians. Ninety-one received the Victoria Cross while serving with Australian forces and five Australians received the award while serving with South African and British units.
Mr Keith Payne VC OAM is the only Australian still alive who has received the Imperial Victoria Cross - for action in Vietnam in 1969.
Australians were first recognised for their gallantry in the Boer War and more recently during the Vietnam War.
Australians have been awarded the Victoria Cross in the following conflicts:
- 6 in the Boer War 1899-1902
- 64 in World War I 1914-1918
- 2 in North Russia 1919
- 20 in World War II 1939-1945
- 4 in Vietnam 1962-1972
Nine of the crosses awarded in World War I were for Australians at Gallipoli.
The Victoria Cross is designed in the form of the Maltese Cross: in the centre of the medal is a lion guardant standing upon the Royal Crown.
The words "For valour" are inscribed below. The Victoria Cross is suspended from a bar by a crimson ribbon. On the reverse of the cross the date of the act of bravery is inscribed, along with the name, rank, and unit of the recipient.