Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Order of Australia
The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service". The Order was established on February 14, 1975, when Queen Elizabeth II signed Letters Patent instituting the Order. Before this date Australian citizens received British honours. There were originally Knights and Dames of the Order, who were entitled to the prefix "Sir" or "Dame" and the post-nominal initials AK or AD. However, the award of the AK and AD was discontinued in the late 1980s by the mutual agreement of the Australian Labor Party Government and the Liberal-National Party coalition Opposition.
Descriptions and post-nominal entitlement
The Order originally consisted of four grades and a medal, in both general and military divisions:
- Knight / Dame of the Order of Australia (AK / AD) - general division only; no longer awarded.
- Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) - for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large.
- Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) - for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large.
- Member of the Order of Australia (AM) - for service in a particular locality or field of activity or to a particular group.
- Order of Australia Medal (OAM) - for service worthy of particular recognition
The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order. The Governor-General of Australia is the Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order.
The insignia of the Order of Australia is a convex golden disk representing the golden wattle flower. At the centre is a blue ring, representing the sea, with the word 'Australia' below two branches of golden wattle. The whole disc is topped by the royal crown. It was designed by Stuart Devlin - a metalsmith who also designed the Australian currency.
The ribbon of the Order is blue with a central stripe of golden wattle flower designs; that of the military division has additional golden edge stripes. There are no posthumous awards in the Order. The Order is awarded on Australia Day, and on the "Queen's Birthday".
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