The Rising Sun Badge

One of the mainsprings of an army is its esprit-de-corps - that spirit which gives a soldier purpose and the endurance to carry on when others might give up.

In the prolonged and bitter struggles of World War 1 and World War 2, the soldiers of the 1st and 2nd AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) had this esprit-de-corps, and its focal point was a humble badge. The so-called ‘Rising Sun’ badge, worn on the up-turned brim of a slouch hat, typified the Spirit of ANZAC - the camaraderie of Australian soldiers to fight for the Crown and the British Empire.

In 1902 a badge was urgently sought for the Australian contingents raised after Federation for service in South Africa during the Boer War.

The most widely accepted version of the origins of this badge is the one that attributes the selection of its design to a British officer, Major General Sir Edward Hutton, the then newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Forces.

Hutton had earlier received as a gift from Brigadier General Joseph Gordon, a military acquaintance of long-standing, a ‘Trophy-of-Arms’ comprising mounted cut and thrust swords and triangular Martini Henri bayonets which were arranged in a semi-circle around the Crown. To General Hutton the shield was symbolic of the co-operation of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth.

original design

A refurbished replica of the shield is on display in the main foyer of the Army Office in Canberra.

The original design, which was created and produced in haste, was modified in 1904. This badge carried a scroll inscribed AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH MILITARY FORCES and it was worn throughout both World Wars.

In 1949, when corps and regimental badges were re-introduced into the Army, the inscription on the scroll was changed to read AUSTRALIAN MILITARY FORCES.

In 1991 a new design was produced which is now on issue. The inscription on the scroll now reads - THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY.

new badge

The ‘Rising Sun’ badge was originally entitled the General Service Badge but, it is now officially called the Australian Army Badge. It will, however, always be referred to as the ‘Rising Sun’.

© Warrant Officer C. JOBSON 1998


[Traditions, Facts and Folklore front page]

ANZAC: The origin of the acronym ‘ANZAC’
The Dawn Service
ANZAC Day Commemoration
Outline Commemoration Service for ANZAC Day
The Australian National Flag
Australia’s War Dead
Australian War Memorials
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The Catafalque Party
Colours Tell the Story
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The Poppy is for Sacrifice
The Rising Sun Badge
Rosemary is for Remembrance
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