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Defence Honours & Awards

Honours and Decorations

Distinguished Service Medal

The Distinguished Service Medal was introduced in 1991 and is awarded for distinguished leadership in warlike operations.


The medal is nickel-silver with a Federation Star on a circle of flames on the obverse. The reverse has a panel for recipient detail over a design of fluted rays of varying lengths.


The ribbon has alternating stripes of silver-blue and ochre-red.

Further Awards

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


Recipients of the medal are entitled to the postnominal letters ‘DSM’. 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 Medal - Obverse - Click to open high resolution version in new window

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

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