The objectives of the Royal Humane Society of Australasia are:  

  1. To give public recognition to acts of bravery by bestowing awards on those who risk their own lives in saving or attempting to save the lives of others. 
  2. To assist by a Relief Fund award recipients who are disadvantaged or physically handicapped by their gallant actions. The Relief Fund is also available to the dependants of those whose attempted rescue earns a posthumous award.   

In its early days the RHSA also initiated swimming and life-saving training and the provision of life-saving apparatus wherever needed. Various other societies and movements have succeeded the RHSA in these later objects and now the RHSA concerns itself with giving suitable recognition to the many acts of bravery which qualify for consideration and with its Relief Fund activities.   

The RHSA is concerned with acts of bravery which occur within Australia and its territories but excluding NSW where there is a separate kindred Society;  The Royal Humane Society of NSW.  

Since its inception in 1874, the RHSA has considered the nominations of 11,500 people and made 7,800 awards.



The following are the different classes of awards presented:


Major Awards 

The following awards may be awarded annually:

The Clarke Medal:  Instituted in 1881, the Clarke Medal is awarded to the most oustanding case(s) of bravery considered during the year.  It consists of a special bar to the medal of standard design with its own ribbon and is either of gold or silver, according to which class of award has already been decided by the Court for the rescuer(s).   More than one Clarke Medal can be awarded annually where the Court is unable to differentiate between the merits of two or more cases involved in the same rescue and which have earned the Gold or Silver Medal during the year.   The Clarke Medal need not be awarded if there is no case of sufficient merit.  The Clarke Medal is not awarded posthumoustly.

The Rupert Wilks Trophy:  Instituted in 1952, the Rupert Wilks Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding case of bravery by a child 12 years and under at the time of the incident."

Stanhope Gold Medal:  The Stanhope Gold Medal is an award of The Royal Humane Society. It was instituted in 1873 as the English Society's highest award for the most meritorious case of gallantry considered during the year. It was decided in 1962 to invite all kindred Commonwealth Societies to nominate their best cases for consideration for this important award. 

From 1984 it has been decided that where the winner of the Clarke Medal is also selected for the Stanhope Gold Medal, the Stanhope Gold Medal only will be presented.