Knight /Dame of the Order of Australia

In 1976, on the Government’s recommendation, Her Majesty The Queen made Letters Patent amending the Constitution of the Order of Australia to provide for appointment of Knights and Dames.

In 1986, on the Government’s recommendation, Her Majesty The Queen made Letters Patent further amending the Constitution of the Order of Australia to revoke the Knight/Dame level of membership.

On 19 March 2014, on the Prime Minister’s recommendation, Her Majesty The Queen approved amendments to the Letters Patent for the Order of Australia to reinstate appointment of Knights and Dames of the Order of Australia.

On 29 October 2015, on the Prime Minister's recommendation, Her Majesty the Queen made amendments to the Letters Patent for the Order of Australia to remove appointment of Knights and Dames of the Order of Australia.

Significance

In the Australian honours system appointments to the Order of Australia confer the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service.

Appointment of Knights and Dames were made for extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to Australia or humanity at large. Governors-General became a Knight or Dame of the Order of Australia by virtue of their appointment as Governor-General. In addition to Governors-General, there were a maximum of 4 appointments a year, excluding honorary awards to non-Australian citizens.

The Order of Australia has five levels:

Past recipients

Between 1976 and 1986 there were 14 appointments of Knight/Dame of the Order of Australia:

  • His Royal Highness, Charles Prince of Wales
  • Sir Garfield Barwick AK GCMG QC, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia
  • Sir MacFarlane Burnet OM AK KBE, Virologist and Nobel Laureate
  • Sir Charles Court AK KCMG OBE, former Premier of Western Australia
  • The Rt Hon Sir Zelman Cowen AK GCMG GCVO QC, former Governor-General of Australia
  • Sir Roden Cutler VC AK KCMG KCVO CBE, former Governor of New South Wales
  • Dame Alexandra Hasluck AD, Author and Social Historian
  • Sir Gordon Jackson AK, Industrialist
  • The Rt Hon Sir John Kerr AK GCMG GCVO QC, former Governor-General of Australia
  • Dame Enid Lyons AD GBE, former Member, House of Representatives, Australian Parliament
  • The Rt Hon Sir Robert Menzies KT AK CH QC, former Prime Minister of Australia
  • The Rt Hon Sir Ninian Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE QC, former Governor-General of Australia
  • Sir Colin Syme AK, Industrialist
  • Sir Roy Wright AK, Physiologist

Between March 2014 and October 2015, there were five people appointed a Knight/Dame of the Order of Australia:

  • The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, former Governor-General of Australia
  • His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of Australia
  • Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, former Governor of New South Wales
  • His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
  • Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK AFC (Retd)

Medal design

Knight/Dame of the Order of Australia - Male arrangementKnight/Dame of the Order of Australia - Female arrangement

Knight/Dame of the Order of Australia
Male arrangement (left) Female arrangement (right)

The Neck Badge of a Knight and the Neck/Shoulder Badge of a Dame consists of the Emblem of the Order, approximately 60 millimetres in diameter, of gold, jewelled and having the centre of its convex surface within a circle of gold, a representation of the Arms of the Commonwealth of Australia in full colour on a background of blue with two branches of mimosa in gold, the whole ensigned with the Crown of St Edward in full colour.

The Breast Badge of a Knight or Dame consists of the Emblem of the Order, approximately 80 millimetres in diameter, of gold, jewelled and having the same design and ensignment as the Neck Badge of a Knight and the Neck/Shoulder Badge of a Dame

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More Information

For more information on the Order of Australia contact:

Secretary
Order of Australia
Government House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Ph: 1800 552 275

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Last Updated: 25 January 2016