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  • Greg Faux

Wearing a Family Members Replica War Medals (or Original Medals)

More and more people especially younger generations are taking an increasing interest in the military service of family members which is a great and honourable thing to do.


People are sometimes not sure how to wear a family members replica war medals or original medals at ANZAC Day services. Military medals are part of our Australian Honours and Awards system and along with other medals and awards form our Honours and Awards system they are worn on the left-hand side of the chest by the recipient. However, if you are wearing a family members medals then you must wear them on your right-hand side.


While military medals are part of our Honours and Awards system, there are “State Awards” also for Police, Fire, Ambulance and Emergency Services. In these cases, the recipient wears their medals on the right side of their chest, you may see a police officer on TV who has medals or ribbon bars on both sides on their chest, this means that they have both National Awarded medals and State award medals. The Australian Federal Police also wear their medals on the right side of their chest and if they also have any National Awarded medals these will be on the left side. This is the case for most places in Australia except for Western Australia and the Northern Territory who have slightly different rules for the wearing of National and State awards.


Some people ask about miniature medals. Miniature medals are made to be worn by the recipient at night to dinners and so on as they are lighter and less cumbersome. Some people may prefer to wear miniature replica medals of their family member as they are lighter to wear for young children or the elderly, but there is no hard and fast rule as to what size medals a family member can wear to honour their relatives military service.


Some personnel may have medals that were issued by a foreign country. For current serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) Members if they are awarded medals from another country then the Australian Government must give permission for that medal/s to be worn with Australian Government issue medals. The order in which foreign issued medals are worn will always be after Australian medals and in the order in which they were received by the recipient. For family members who have a relative’s medals that may include foreign medals, this is fine so long as the family member was issued the medal and they are worn after any Australian medals.


Medal groups may have “unofficial” issue or “Association” medals, it is up to family members if such medals are worn with official issued medals, again they must be worn behind any official issue medals. Note that some people don’t believe unofficial medals should be worn with official medals.


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