Long-time Antarctic expeditioners from three diverse careers have been honoured with the 2016 Australian Antarctic Medal.

The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), today announced Dr John Cadden, engineer Kym Newbery and plumber Robert (Bob) Rowland received the award for outstanding service to the Australian Antarctic Program.

Australian Antarctic Division Director, Dr Nick Gales, said all three recipients are leaders in their fields.

“John Cadden, Kym Newbery and Bob Rowland have all made an exceptional contribution to the smooth running of Australian stations in Antarctica, on Macquarie Island, and on Australia’s research and resupply vessel Aurora Australis,” Dr Gales said.

“The skill, dedication and passion these men have brought to their roles in Antarctica over decades is inspiring and is what makes the Australian Antarctic Program so unique.”

Dr John Cadden has provided medical services to expeditioners over two Antarctic winters, resupply and marine science voyages, and summer expeditions from 1999 through to 2016.

He’s been the sole doctor on Australia’s research and resupply vessel, Aurora Australis, and at Davis and Casey stations, and on Macquarie Island.

Dr Cadden’s outstanding skills in psychiatry and psychology, as well as surgery and remote medicine has earned him the respect, confidence and gratitude of many expeditioners.

Electronics engineer, Kym Newbery, has been working with the Australian Antarctic Division for 17 years as both an expeditioner and head office employee.

He has made an outstanding technical contribution to the success of Australia’s scientific and logistical activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Mr Newbery developed and designed innovative equipment for use in the harsh Antarctic environment, including remote penguin monitoring cameras and technology for marine science and glaciology.

Bob Rowland has been a plumber at Australian Antarctic stations from 1983 through to 2015, including eleven summer seasons.

Mr Rowland has been instrumental in station maintenance and building programs, with an extensive knowledge of station waste management, water reticulation, heating and ventilation systems.

Across decades Mr Rowland has played a key role in fostering a supportive community environment on station and mentoring less experienced expeditioners.


The Australian Antarctic Medal was established in 1987 and is an award in the Meritorious Service Awards category of the Australian Honours System.

It replaced the (British) Imperial Polar Medal and its variations which date back to 1857 for service in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.