|This stamp issue traces the design evolution of the Rising Sun badge, also known as the General Service badge, worn by Australian Army personnel. There is some uncertainty as to the origin of the first design, but the most accepted theory is that it derives from a trophy of arms. It is believed the trophy was designed by Major Joseph Maria Gordon of the South Australian Permanent Artillery, who took it around the colony during recruitment drives. Created around 1893, it comprised seven cut-and-thrust swords alternating with six Martini Henri bayonets, radiating from a brass crown, all mounted on a red semi-circular board.
Some years later, Gordon presented the trophy to Major-General Sir Edward Hutton, the British officer appointed Commander-in-chief by the newly federated government of Australia to coordinate its colonial forces into a single Commonwealth force. Seeking a uniquely identifiable badge, Hutton suggested a design based on the trophy, representing the coordination of Australia’s naval and infantry forces. The first badges were produced quickly for the battalions that fought in South Africa in early 1902, the final year of the Boer War.
Since the badge was first produced, its design has gone through seven iterations, five of which are shown in the stamp issue: the first, third, fifth, sixth and seventh. The first, used during the Boer War, was replaced within months, most likely due to the change of name from “Australia” to “Australian Commonwealth Horse”. Approved in May 1904, the third design was worn by personnel of Australian Imperial Forces through both World Wars. Following Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation (1953), the badge’s central motif was altered in the fifth iteration to show the St Edward’s Crown, used for her coronation. The sixth design introduced the Federation Star, sitting upon a heraldic wreath. The seventh and most recent design returns the badge to near its third iteration. This change coincided with the 75th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.