Designing and making awards

GovernmentIt's an HonourAwards
Publication author(s):
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Publication abstract:

There are a number of steps in the process of creating a new honour or award before the medal can be designed and made. The medal and ribbons are designed as part of the process.

There are a number of steps in the process of creating a new honour or award before the medal can be designed and made.

The medal and ribbons are designed as part of the process.

Designing the medals 

The medal and ribbon for an award are designed once The Queen has given in-principle agreement for a new honour in the Australian system.

The designer’s task is to capture the significance, or the essence, of the award in the medal design.

The medal designer may be from a creative agency like Balarinji Design Studio or from an organisation involved in the award’s creation.

This website and the downloadable fact sheets have information on the medal and ribbon design for all the awards in the Australian system of honours. You can see a full list of awards and read more about them at the A-Z listing.

Making the medals 

The Honours Secretariat at Government House in Canberra and the Department of Defence are responsible for the minting of approved medal designs.

Famous designers – Stuart Devlin

Stuart Devlin is a specialist gold and silversmith. He was born in Geelong, Victoria in 1931 but his craft eventually took him to London.

In 1982, he was granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment as Goldsmith and Jeweller to Her Majesty The Queen.

Stuart Devlin designed the medals for the founding awards of the Australian honours system in 1975: the Order of Australia, the Australian Bravery Decorations and the National Medal.

He also designed Australia’s first decimal coins.

Stuart Devlin AO - Medal Designer Photo: Photograph provided by RMIT Alumni Relations.


Famous Designers – Balarinji Design Studio

Balarinji Design Studio in Sydney designed the medals for the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal and the Centenary Medal.

Balarinji is Australia’s leading Indigenous art and design studio well-known for its designs on the QANTAS 747-400 aircraft Wunala (kangaroo) Dreaming.

Dr John Kundereri Moriarty AM is Chairman and Head of Design at Balarinji and a full member of the Yanyuwa people of his birthplace.

Dr John Kundereri Moriarty AM. Photo: The Jumbana Group

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