Australian Defence Medal

ADM Medal Obverse ADM Medal Reverse

The Australian Defence Medal (ADM) has been established to recognise Australian Defence Force Regular and Reserve personnel who have demonstrated their commitment and contribution to the nation by serving for an initial enlistment period or four years service whichever is the lesser.

Her Majesty the Queen approved the Regulations and Letters Patent for the medal on 20 March 2006 and these were promulgated in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No. S 48 of 30 March 2006 .

The Medal

The ADM is a cupro-nickel medal with the stylised version of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms used on the Australia Service Medal 1939-45 surrounded by the inscription 'THE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE MEDAL' above a sprig of wattle on the obverse. The reverse has the inscription 'FOR SERVICE' below the Crown of St Edward all surrounded by a wattle wreath. The use of the wreath acknowledges the sacrifice of those who have died in service or been discharged due to injury resulting from service, a secondary qualification for the medal.

The Ribbon

The ADM ribbon is red with black edges, the colours of the Flanders poppy that represent the Anzac spirit of the Australian armed forces. The white stripes divide the ribbon into three, to denote the three Services and also represent service contributing to the peace of Australia .


The Australian Defence Medal recognises Australian Defence Force personnel who have efficiently completed either:

whichever is the lesser, and all of the relevant service was after 3 September 1945.

Included are former Defence Force members who did not complete the qualifying period because they:

World War II veterans are not eligible for the Australian Defence Medal unless they were demobilised, re-enlisted after 3 September 1945 and then met the above criteria. The Australia Service Medal 1939-45 is the Australian award for the recognition of World War II service.

Order of Wear

The position of the ADM in the Australian Order of Wear may be found here.

How to apply for the ADM

Ex-Serving Members

Applications should be made to Defence Honours and Awards, Department of Defence.

In addition to being available via this website (click here), the application form for the ADM is available from the RSL and other Ex-Service Organisations.

It is important that applicants provide proof of service with their application. This can include a certified true copy (no originals please) of their Certificate of Service or Discharge Certificate or any other official documents which confirm the length of their service. Providing these documents will greatly speed up the assessment process for the medal. Ex-serving personnel who do not have certificates of service or other supporting documentation, should not contact Central Army Records Office, Navy records or RAAF records. Their applications should be submitted to DH&A regardless, who will then contact the service archives on behalf of applicants to conduct an assessment.

Permanent Members

Current serving full-time members will be assessed automatically in line with the new process for assessing long service awards through PMKeys.

It has been found however that some permanent members are not able to be assesses through this process. If this applies to you, please contact DH&A so that the matter can be rectified without delay.

Reserve Members

Reserve members will need to apply as DH&A is unable to assess eligibility automatically using PMKeyS. Reservists should have their application certified by their current Commanding Officer as this will expedite the assessment process.

Reserve members, who have previously been awarded a long service award for fifteen or more years service will still need to apply. This is essential to ensure current contact/address details are recorded by DH&A for expedient dispatch of the medal. It should be noted however that this will not result in any delays with determining eligibility for the medal.

Medal Presentation

Recipients are encouraged to elect to have their medal presented to them by a senior military officer and their federal member of parliament at a ceremony in their electorate.

These occasions have proved a very popular way to celebrate the awards with other recipients. You can bring up to three guests to witness this moving occasion. The ceremonies include light refreshments and are held twice a year in each electorate.

To indicate your preference to receive your medal at a presentation ceremony, please tick the presentation box in the grey section at the bottom of the ADM application form.

Medal Mounting

If required, a medal mounting service can be provided from medals dealers whose details may be found under the medals section of the Yellow Pages.

Additional Information

Please click the following link for:

ADM Questions and Answers