Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal
The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal honours members of recognised Australian groups for emergency humanitarian service overseas in hazardous circumstances.
The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal complements the Australian Service Medal (which is awarded to members of the Australian Defence Force) and the Police Overseas Service Medal.
The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal was introduced following the Review of Australian Honours and Awards, which reported in late 1995.
The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal was established on 16 April 1999 by Letters Patent.
The medal was extended in 2005 to enable recognition of the humanitarian services provided to countries that were affected by the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the earthquake on Nias Island in March 2005.
Read about Mr Scott Rankin who received the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (with clasp ‘Cambodia’) in 2004 for his work in helping to rebuild war-shattered communities in Cambodia.
Search the Australian Honours List for past recipients of the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal.
View the numbers awarded for the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal.
How it is awarded
The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal is a way for Australians to recognise members of Australian groups who perform humanitarian work in perilous overseas settings.
Applications for the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal come directly from the community: either individuals or groups.
The Governor-General, on the recommendation of the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, may make the award to a person who meets the eligibility criteria.
Applicants must be members of eligible groups. This may include non-government organisations such as CARE Australia, a group of Australians working with a United Nations operation or other humanitarian organisations.
Only one medal can be awarded to an individual. However, additional clasps may be awarded for eligible service in a different operational area.
The following clasps have been declared:
Great Lakes (Africa)
Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal- front
The central symbol of the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal is an Australian eucalyptus tree. The branches spread from the Australian land at the base of the medal to the world, which is represented by a circle.
A ring of gum nuts surrounds the circle symbolising hope and life after disaster. Like the Australian eucalyptus seeds, which regenerate following bushfires, humanitarian service assists the recovery and continuation of life.
The back of the medal repeats the ring of gum nuts, and details the award and recipient.
The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal draws its inspiration from Indigenous motifs. It was designed by Balarinji of Sydney.
The colours of the ribbon are gold and eucalyptus green. Gold symbolises the Australian sun, optimism and hope. Eucalyptus green continues the regeneration symbolism of the medal design.