The Centenary Medal commemorates 100 years of federation and acknowledges the challenges of the new century by recognising citizens and other people who made a contribution to Australian society or government.
The Prime Minister announced the Centenary Medal on 28 December 2001. It is the third specifically Australian commemorative award.
In the past, Australia received quotas in royal commemorative awards to mark coronations and jubilees. The most recent royal award of this kind was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal 1977.
The Centenary Medal acknowledges those who contributed to the success of Australia’s first hundred years as a federal nation. The award recognises the many Australians who laid solid foundations for the nation’s future.
The Centenary Medal was formally introduced by Letters Patent on 14 February 2001. The medal is now only open to centenarians (see information below).
How it is awarded
Nominations for the Centenary Medal were made by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. An independent council assessed the nominations put forward. A total of 15, 838 medals were issued. These included close to 1,400 medals awarded to Australian centenarians.
The Centenary Medal was awarded to:
- General list – people who served Australia, for example community volunteers, and those whose achievements in science, research or the arts made a notable impact at a national or international level.
- Centenarians - Australians who lived through our first century of federation. That is, those Australian citizens born on or before 31 December 1901 and who lived to celebrate the centenary of federation on 1 January 2001.
- Government and judicial officer holders – to celebrate the Australian system of government.
Each recipient received a personalised warrant accompanying his or her medal. The award does not carry post-nominal entitlements.
Designed by Balarinji, Sydney, the medal features a seven-pointed Commonwealth Star representing the six Australian states, with the seventh point representing Australia's territories.
At the centre of the star is an Indigenous styling of Aboriginal traditions at the heart of the continent. Around the rim are 100 dots depicting 100 years of federation.
The colours in the ribbon are crimson, which represents federation, and blue and gold for the beginning of the 21st century. The seven gold and red lines signify the states’ pathways to federation.