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Defence Honours & Awards

Honours and Decorations

Distinguished Service Cross

The Distinguished Service Cross was introduced in 1991 and is awarded for distinguished command and leadership in action. As with gallantry decorations, distinguished service decorations are not specific to rank, but because the Cross is for ‘command’ in action, it is more likely it will be awarded to officers.


The medal is a modified Maltese Cross of nickel-silver with the obverse having a central device of the Federation Star on a disc of flames. The reverse has a panel for recipient details.


The ribbon has a central stripe of ochre-red flanked by silver-blue stripes.

Further Awards

A further award is denoted by a nickel-silver bar with the Federation Star superimposed on a horizontal row of flames. When the ribbon is worn alone, the award of a bar is indicated by the addition of a ribbon bar emblem in the form of a nickel-silver Federation Star.


Recipients of the Cross are entitled to the postnominal letters ‘DSC’. Recipients of a bar add ‘and Bar’ to the postnominal.

Source Documents

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette S25 of 4 February 1991 (Letters Patent and Regulations) [PDF] [Word]


The nomination procedure is detailed in Chapter 8 Annex A of the Defence Honours and Awards Manual.

Distinguished Service Cross - Obverse - Click to open high resolution version in new window

Distinguished Service Cross - Reverse - Click to open high resolution version in new window

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