The Victoria Cross (VC) was originally instituted in 1856 as a decoration to recognise gallantry in action by all ranks of the services. The VC was awarded to Australians under the Imperial system of awards, with 96 Australians receiving the award. It was decided to retain the VC as the pre-eminent gallantry award in the Australian system. The Victoria Cross for Australia was approved on 15 January 1991. The VC is awarded for the most conspicuous gallantry, or a daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty in the face of the enemy.
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