Antarctic pioneer acknowledged

Antarctic pioneer, Patricia Selkirk, has been awarded the Australian Antarctic Medal. Presented by His Excellency the Governor General, Major General Michael Jeffery, in September, the award recognises Dr Selkirk’s contribution to furthering community understanding of Antarctic flora through her numerous publications, media involvement and appointments on several national and international scientific committees.

Since 1979 Dr Selkirk has been a member of 17 Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions and Antarctica New Zealand Expeditions. She was also part of the team that discovered plant viruses in the subantarctic.

Dr Selkirk co-produced the first vegetation map of Macquarie Island and her research has formed much of the foundation for subantarctic plant biology. Her contribution to scientific literature includes over 67 publications on Antarctic terrestrial science and she has also completed a history of the achievements of geographer and geologist LR Blake, who was part of Douglas Mawson’s expedition to Macquarie Island.

‘It is thanks to people of Dr Selkirk’s calibre, drive and determination that women today are able to play such an active role in Antarctic scientific research and station leadership,’ said former Parliamentary Secretary for the Antarctic, Dr Sharman Stone.