Instituted in 1949 and awarded to Australian Armed Forces personnel for 30 days full-time or 90 days part-time operational service; at home or overseas. The qualifying period is between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945. This was amended in 1996 from the original period of 18 months full-time or 3 years part-time service.
The central khaki stripe of the ribbon represents the Australian Army. The red, dark blue and light blue stripes represent the Merchant Navy, Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force respectively.