Proudly worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Force in both World Wars, the 'Rising Sun' badge has become an integral part of the digger tradition. The distinctive shape of the badge, worn on the upturned side of a slouch hat, is commonly identified with the spirit of Anzac.
There are seven patterns of the Rising Sun. The Rising Sun has evolved over time and today Australian Army soldiers wear the seventh pattern Rising Sun.
The First Pattern - February 1902
During this time, a badge was urgently sought for the Australian contingents raised after Federation for service in South Africa during the South African (Second Boer) War. The most widely accepted version of the origin of this badge is the one that attributes the selection of its design to a British Officer, Major General Sir Edward Hutton, the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Forces.
Hutton had earlier received as a gift from Brigadier General Joseph Gordon, a military acquaintance of long standing, a ‘Trophy-of-Arms’ composed of mounted cut and thrust swords and triangular Martini-Henry bayonets that were arranged in a semi-circle around the Crown. To General Hutton, the shield was symbolic of the cooperation between the naval and military forces of the Empire.
The Second Pattern - April 1902
The second pattern badge added a scroll with the words ‘Commonwealth Horse’ and changing ‘Australia’ to ‘Australian’. This badge was a modified version for the Commonwealth Horse.
The Third Pattern - May 1904
The third pattern Rising Sun badge carried a scroll inscribed with the words ‘Australian Commonwealth Military Forces’ and was worn throughout both World Wars. There were, however, a number of variations of the badge; a special version was struck for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 and there were badges of the Commonwealth Horse and the Australian Instructional Corps, each with its respective title on the scrolls. This pattern badge formed the template for all subsequent General Service badges.
The Fourth Pattern - 1949
Corps and regimental badges were reintroduced into the Army and the inscription on the scroll was changed to ‘Australian Military Forces’.
The Fifth Pattern - 1954
The fifth pattern badge substituted the Imperial State Crown with the St Edwards Crown. It was approved in 1954 and issued in 1966.
The Sixth Pattern - 1969
The badge went through another alteration, with the introduction of the Federation Star above a heraldic wreath and the inscription was once again changed to read ‘Australia’. However, this design was never fully issued.
The Seventh Pattern - 1991
The current design was produced with ‘The Australian Army’ on the scroll and the removal of the Federation Star and heraldic wreath.
The Rising Sun Badge was originally called the General Service Badge, but it is now officially labelled the Australian Army Badge. It will, however, always be referred to as the Rising Sun Badge.
Heraldry and tradition should be considered when producing material for Army.