National Medal

The National Medal recognises long and diligent service, by members of recognised government and voluntary organisations, that risk their lives or safety to protect or assist the community in enforcement of the law or in times of emergency or natural disaster.

This includes service organisations such as ambulance, correctional, emergency, fire and police forces, and voluntary organisations such as lifesaving or search and rescue groups. Many, but not all, eligible groups are uniformed.

The National Medal is Australia’s most awarded civilian medal.

How it is awarded

The Governor-General awards the National Medal. Nominations are made by the chief officer of the nominee’s organisation. The chief officer of a recognised organisation also administers the medal for that organisation.

Fifteen years’ service is required to qualify for the National Medal. Clasps are available for each additional ten years’ service.

Once a person has qualified they may approach their chief officer who has responsibility for making nominations to the Governor-General.

There is no application form for the National Medal.

More information

For detailed information about eligibility please refer to:


The National Medal was established in 1975 as one of the first three elements of the Australian honours system.

When the medal was first introduced it recognised 15 years of diligent service by members of the Australian Defence Force, Australian police forces, and fire and ambulance services. Subsequently, the Defence Force Service Awards were introduced to recognise long service in the Australian Defence Force.

Eligibility for the National Medal has progressively expanded to include:

  • People who had participated in part-time and volunteer service
  • Members of the Australian Protective Service and correctional and emergency services
  • Members of qualifying volunteer search and rescue groups
  • Government organisations that do not enforce laws

In April 2011, provision was made:

  • to allow periods of service by any foreign secondee or exchangee, with an approved organisation, to count towards the Medal
  • to make clear that psychological trauma alone is sufficient to qualify for the Medal

In January 2020, provision was made to extend eligibility to members who:

  • have died while giving eligible service
  • but for injury or disability sustained in the course of performing their duty, would have served a minimum of 15 years’ service. This provision commenced from 5 February 2020; the date of gazettal of the amended Regulations.

Medal design

The National Medal is a circular bronze medal ensigned with the Crown of St Edward. The front of the medal features the Commonwealth Coat of Arms in a recessed circle. The rim of the medal carries the inscription ‘The National Medal’.

The back of the medal is plain.

The medal was designed by Mr Stuart Devlin AO CMG.

Medal ribbon

The 32 millimetre-wide ribbon features 15 alternating gold and blue vertical stripes.

Award category

Civilian Service Medals