The Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856 as a decoration to recognise gallantry in action by all ranks of the services. It was awarded to Australians under the Imperial system of awards, with 96 Australians receiving the award.
The Victoria Cross was retained as the pre-eminent gallantry award in the Australian system. The Victoria Cross for Australia was approved on 15 January 1991. 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 face of the enemy.
The Victoria Cross for Australia is identical to the original. It is a bronze cross with the obverse having a Crowned Lion standing on the Royal Crown with the words ‘FOR VALOUR’ inscribed on a semicircular scroll below the Crown.
The reverse has the date of the act for which the Cross is awarded engraved within a circle in the centre.
The Cross is suspended by a ring from a seriffed ‘V’ attached to a suspension bar decorated with laurel leaves.
The ribbon is crimson and 38 millimetres wide. When the ribbon is worn alone a ribbon bar emblem in the form of a replica of the Cross is worn on the ribbon.
A further award is denoted by a bronze bar.
When the ribbon is worn alone, the award of a bar is indicated by the addition of a further ribbon bar emblem.