Australian Antarctic Medal Awards

An emperor penguin chick scolds Barbara after being weighed.
An emperor penguin chick scolds Barbara after being weighed. (Photo: Kym Newberry)
Scott Laughlin at the helm of the Aurora Australis.

Seabird ecologist Dr Barbara Wienecke and master mariner Captain Scott Laughlin were awarded the Australian Antarctic Medal in June.

Former Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said the pair’s focus and dedication over many years had made a significant contribution to Australia’s work in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Dr Wienecke’s medal was awarded for her exemplary research into seabirds and the effect of commercial fishing operations on seabird populations (see next story).

‘Dr Wienecke is highly regarded on the world stage and should be applauded for her long-term work with seabirds, particularly penguins, often at remote field locations in cramped and uncomfortable conditions and at the mercy of extreme weather conditions,’ Mr Burke said.

During two decades of research at the Australian Antarctic Division, Dr Wienecke has also participated in several studies on longline fishing vessels, working to decrease the bycatch of seabirds.

Much of her research has been considered by the Scientific Committee of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and supported Government objectives in that forum.

Captain Scott Laughlin’s name is synonymous with Antarctic voyages stretching back to 1990; first as a crew member of the Aurora Australis, then as ship’s master from 2002.

Minister Burke said that Captain Laughlin’s deep appreciation of, and affinity with, Australia’s Antarctic program, has resulted in broad respect across the Antarctic community.

‘Over more than 20 years he has demonstrated a commitment to working closely with the Australian Antarctic Division to improve policy, procedures and process relating to maritime operations,’ he said.

‘Captain Laughlin’s attention to safety and keen understanding of sea ice conditions, have proved invaluable to operations in often very difficult conditions at sea.’

Corporate Communications
Australian Antarctic Division