Order of Australia

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The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia on 14 February 1975 "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service". Before the establishment of the Order, Australian citizens received British honours.

The Order is divided into general and military divisions, with the following grades in descending order of seniority:

  • Knight or Dame of the Order of Australia (AK or AD, no new appointments);[1]
  • Companion of the Order of Australia (AC);
  • Officer of the Order of Australia (AO);
  • Member of the Order of Australia (AM); and
  • Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).[2]



The Order was established on 14 February 1975 by Letters patent of Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, and countersigned by the then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. The original Order had only three grades: Companion (AC), Officer (AO) and Member (AM).

On 24 May 1976, the further categories of Knight (AK), Dame (AD), and Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) were established by the Queen on the advice of Whitlam's successor Malcolm Fraser.

Following his 1983 election, Prime Minister Bob Hawke abolished the Knight and Dame categories. On 3 March 1986 the Queen co-signed Letters Patent revoking the category of Knight or Dame. Existing Knights and Dames were not affected by this change.

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