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Other New Zealand Medals and Awards - The ANZAC Commemorative Medallion

Obverse View

The ANZAC Commemorative Medallion obverse view

Reverse View

The ANZAC Commemorative Medallion reverse view

About the ANZAC Commemorative Medallion

This bronze medallion was instituted in 1967 for award to Australian and New Zealand personnel who participated in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. The obverse design is circular, surmounted by St. Edward’s Crown. The main design on the obverse of the medallion depicts Simpson and his donkey carrying a wounded soldier, an iconic image of the ANZAC experience at Gallipoli. Below the main design is a wreath of gum leaves (Australian Eucalyptus), below which is a scroll bearing the word “ANZAC”. The circular portion of the reverse has a map of Australia and New Zealand with the Southern Cross. Beneath which is a wreath of fern leaves (representing New Zealand) and a blank scroll allowing for the inclusion of the recipient’s name. The medallion measures 76mm x 50mm, and is engraved on the reverse with the recipient’s initials and surname only. Because of insufficient space on the scroll, the rank and number had to be omitted.

The medallion itself is not designed to be worn, however, those personnel who were still alive when the medallion was issued also received a lapel badge sized version of the full medallion, numbered on the reverse with the individual's First World War service number. Those who claimed the award on behalf of a deceased relative received only the medallion.  The medallion was issued with a certificate.  The text of the New Zealand and Australian versions of the certificate can be viewed here. The medallion is sometimes referred to as the Gallipoli Medallion.

Simpson, Henderson and their donkey

Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick (born 6 July 1892, died 19 May 1915), better known as 'Simpson' or 'the man with the donkey', was assigned to the 3rd Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps. He was among the covering force which landed on Gallipoli at dawn on 25 April 1915.  At Gallipoli he used a donkey (named 'Abdul', 'Murphy' or 'Duffy') to carry wounded soldiers to the dressing station and gained a reputation for being undaunted by enemy fire.

On 19 May 1915 he was killed, and though he was mentioned in orders of the day and despatches, he received no bravery award. The myth-making began almost immediately after his death, and he soon became one of the best-known images of the ANZAC experience.  The task of evacuating wounded by donkey was then continued by a New Zealander, Private Richard (Dick) Alexander Henderson.

For more information on Simpson and his donkey the following books are recommended: Peter Cochrane, Simpson and the Donkey: The Making of a Legend (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1992); and Peter Dennis, Jeffrey Grey, Ewan Morris and Robin Prior (eds), The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1995), p.548.

In 2009, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association (RNZRSA) created the ANZAC Award to recognise, each year, the efforts and achievements of a New Zealander or New Zealanders who best emulate the ANZAC spirit as represented by the story of New Zealand Gallipoli hero Richard Henderson and the donkey.  For further information on the ANZAC Award see the RNZRSA's media release of 20 April 2009 and the RNZRSA website.

Further information

For further information on the ANZAC Commemorative Medallion see the 1969 article by A.E. Prowse.

For images and information on medals for service in the First World War see the British Commonwealth War and Campaign Medals Awarded to New Zealanders section of our website.

For information on gallantry, meritorious and distinguished service awards received by New Zealanders for First World War service see the British Commonwealth Gallantry, Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards section of our website.

Royal Warrant

There is no Royal Warrant for this award.


Administration instructions are included in the Regulations.

Clasps and Bars

There are no clasps or bars associated with this award.

Order of Wear

This award is not included in the order of wear, because it is not designed to be worn.

How to apply

To apply for the ANZAC Commemorative Medallion please complete NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals Form No. 1.