Australian sweetheart badge

Australian sweetheart badge

Sweetheart badge

Technical data

Date 1914-1918
Made in New Zealand or Australia 
Type Sweetheart badge
Dimensions 3,2 cm (L) x 3,2 cm (W) x 0,4 cm (H)
Materials Gilded metal
Where to be seen within the War Heritage Institute Royal Military Museum, storage


Unconditional support

Brooches such as these were worn by the girlfriends and wives of Australian and New Zealand soldiers fighting in Europe during the First World War. The ornament showed the outside world that these women had husbands or sweethearts fighting in the war overseas and illustrated their unconditional support for their personal heroes.

The brooches were based on the soldiers’ regimental insignias. Some specimens were manufactured in gold or silver and even embellished with precious stones.

Did you know that…

this brooch is packed with symbolism? Its centre consists of a rising sun with crown above an emu. This refers to the Dominion of Australia. The crown is that of the Tudors, a heraldic crown used for the British monarchy from 1902 to 1953. Two palm branches make up the left and right sides, and refer to the Dominion of New Zealand. The two maple leaves underneath symbolise Canada. The Canadian troops did not belong to the ANZAC, but the Dominion of Canada is part of the Commonwealth, together with Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, Canadian soldiers fought alongside the Australians and New Zealanders during the Great War, e.g. in Gallipoli. A banderole displays the ANZAC acronym standing for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

What makes this brooch a top piece?

We only have a few sweetheart badges in our collection and this is the oldest one. The sweetheart badges tell another aspect of war history: the story of the partners left in limbo and who may never see their husbands again.

-Saskia Van de Voorde, collection manager Textiles and Small Equipment, War Heritage Institute