2 June 2023

Military medals get some tender love and care through local restoration services

| Claire Sams
Start the conversation
woman repairing military medals

Louise Boureux puts the finishing touches on a miniature set of medals. Photo: Rodrigo Villablanca.

If Anzac Day made you realise your medals need some TLC, you’re not alone.

Maybe you pulled them out and noticed their best days were behind them, with a frayed ribbon or a broken pin.

Or you keep a family member’s medals as a precious memory of time served and wonder what they would have looked like when awarded.

A Canberra business specialising in medal restoration says they see hundreds of medals each year as they bring these precious items back to life and ready to wear or display.

Military Shop medals coordinator Hisham Khan says, “We have seen cases where people place them in safes and then just forget about them.”

Military Shop offers medal mounting and repair work, though they do not reface the medal surfaces in-house.

“We have a dedicated team who have been working on medals for the past 10 to 15 years,” Hisham said.

READ ALSO Footprints of Indigenous military service inscribed on new coin

The team starts the restoration by taking photographs of the medal in its original condition before it is hand-mounted in accordance with Australian Defence Force guidelines.

To mount medals, they are placed on a board and mounting bar so they can be worn in either the swing mounting or court mounting styles, depending on the customer’s requirements.

The swing mounting style can be traced to Queen Elizabeth I’s reign when England celebrated victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588.

During Queen Victoria’s reign, court mounting was introduced as she disliked the clinking noise created by her courtiers’ medals when they were worn together.

“Court mounting is how our current Defence Force members wear their medals,” Hisham said.

“Basically, the medals are sewn to a rigid backing board so they can’t move around.”

A stunning set of completed medals showcased in their Jarrah Medal Case. Photo: Rodrigo Villablanca.

Military Shop can also replace the ribbon on request, with their ribbons sourced from a United Kingdom-based company that has been operating for 100 years.

They also sell replica medals for lost medals or those wanting to keep the originals safe on outings and offer deep cleaning of medals.

Mr Khan says that it means a lot to be able to restore medals on behalf of the public.

“We are always overjoyed when we are able to restore medals and give them back.

“It’s part of their family legacy and we are extremely honoured that we are able to help them keep their family legacy alive.”

READ ALSO Life for a mother in today’s military – the true picture

Hisham says his team treats every medal carefully in light of their importance to the recipients and their overall historical significance, especially older ones.

“You can’t replicate the original ones because, obviously, those are the ones that were actually awarded to the parents or grandparents or other relatives,” he said.

“They hold a significant value for the person sending in the medal, so we want to ensure we don’t misplace them or that any sort of accident happens to them. Security is our top priority.”

Military Shop will soon offer framing services for medals, another way to keep them in good condition.

“Framing of medals is about preserving them in a glass frame so they don’t suffer wear and tear. Because medals are relatively small, they can be misplaced very easily – but if they’re in a frame, they can be displayed on a wall or something similar.”

The framed medals can be mounted on a plaque with the name of the person awarded them and their photograph.

With a range of offerings, including mounting, ribbon replacement, and soon, framing services, Military Shop is helping to honour the contributions and sacrifices made by service members throughout history – for more information, visit Military Shop.


Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.