The man who was a driving force behind the construction of the Wilkins runway in Antarctica has received the Antarctic Medal at a ceremony at Government House in Canberra.

Matt Filipowski was the Australian Antarctic Division’s construction supervisor at Wilkins and, during Midwinter, he was named this year’s Antarctic Medal recipient by His Excellency the Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffrey.

He received his award during the final Investiture Ceremony conducted by General Jeffrey, who retires this month.

Matt Filipowski was responsible for all aspects of the work during the construction of Wilkins Runway during the summers of 2003/04, 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2007/08 and spent almost 90% of his time in Antarctica at the runway site.

The landing of the first intercontinental jet aircraft at Wilkins Runway on 10 December 2007 and the arrival of the first official passengers on 10 January 2008 were historic milestones in Australia’s Antarctic endeavours.