Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross is unique among military medals.

Of all the orders and decorations open to members of the Australian Defence Force, the Victoria Cross remains the most honoured, the most coveted. It marks its wearer as one possessing supreme courage, a disregard for danger and complete devotion to duty.

From the ANZAC Day Commemorative Committee

Queen Victoria established the award that bears her name in 1856. Originally created for the Crimean War, it is open to all ranks as the supreme award for courage in combat. Since its beginning, 98 medals have been awarded to Australians. The medal carries the words, For Valour. When worn, the VC takes precedence over all other awards.

Though there is now a wide range of military awards available to all ranks in the armed services for extraordinary feats in war, the Victoria Cross remains the most prized and carries with it a peculiar mystique as the highest such award available. There remains something quite special and distinctive about the place of Victoria Cross winners in our society.

Victoria Crosses at Queensland Museum

Queensland Museum holds three of the Victoria Crosses awarded to Australians, from Patrick Bugden (which is part of our collection) and two others: from Robert Beatham (owned by Mr Neil Jenman and Mrs Ruth Jenman) and from Blair Anderson Wark (owned by the United Service Club Queensland). The latter two are on loan to the Museum until 2012.

Victoria Cross design

The Victoria Cross is designed in the form of the Maltese Cross. In the centre of the medal is a crowned lion, an emblem of the British royal family, standing upon the Royal Crown. The words "For Valour" are inscribed below. On the reverse of the cross is inscribed the date of the action, along with the name, rank and unit of the recipient. The Victoria Cross is suspended from a bar by a red ribbon.

Victoria Cross of Provate P J Bugden

Further information:

The Victoria Cross and Victoria Crosses at the Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial displays 61 Victoria Crosses, the largest publicly held collection in the world.

The Victoria Cross
A brief history for the Victoria Cross from the ANZAC Day Commemorative Committee