Instituted in 1856 by Queen Victoria to recognise gallantry in action by all ranks of the services. Originally awarded to Australians under the Imperial system of awards, the Victoria Cross for Australia was approved on 15 January 1991. This latter version is identical to the original.
The ribbon specification was originally red for the Army and dark blue for the Navy. The latter was abolished soon after the formation of the Royal Air Force, leaving the red to represent all three services. It is often referred to as being crimson.