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Legends of Gallipoli – Victoria Cross Edition
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The Victoria Cross for Australia is the highest award in the Australian Honours System, superseding the Victoria Cross for issue to Australians. The Victoria Cross for Australia is the “decoration for according recognition to persons who in the presence of the enemy, perform acts of the most conspicuous gallantry, or daring or pre-eminent acts of valour or self-sacrifice or display extreme devotion to duty.”
The Victoria Cross for Australia was created by letters patent signed by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, on 15 January 1991. It is listed equal first with the British Victoria Cross on the Australian Order of Wear with precedence in Australia over all orders, decorations and medals. The decoration may be awarded to members of the Australian Defence Force and to other persons determined by the Australian Minister for Defence. A person to whom the Victoria Cross for Australia has been awarded is entitled to the post nominals VC placed after the person’s name.
The Governor-General of Australia awards the Victoria Cross for Australia, with the approval of the Sovereign, on the recommendation of the Minister for Defence. The first medal was awarded on 16 January 2009 to Trooper Mark Donaldson, for the rescue of a coalition forces interpreter from heavy fire in Oruzgan Province in Afghanistan. Donaldson’s award came almost 40 years after Warrant Officer Keith Payne became the last Australian to be awarded the (original) Victoria Cross for gallantry on 24 May 1969 during the Vietnam War. Unlike the original Victoria Cross where the announcement of the award is followed some time later by the presentation of the award, the announcement and presentation of all awards of the VC for Australia have occurred on the same occasion with the presentation being made by the Governor-General in the presence of the Prime Minister. Both VC for Australia and original Victoria Cross recipients are entitled to the Victoria Cross allowance under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986.