Australian Antarctic Medals honour unsung heroes of the south

Woman stands on ice at Antarctic Circle sign.
Alison Dean at the Antarctic Circle. (Photo: Ali Dean)
Man in hi-vis on deck of icebreakerTwo people with camera at penguin colonywoman on bridge of icebreaker surrounded by sea iceScientist standing and inspecting fossil findMan walking on snow-covered ice

A diverse group of unsung heroes has been awarded prestigious Australian Antarctic Medals in recognition of their service to the Australian Antarctic Program.

The six medal recipients — a station leader, voyage manager, refuelling expert, field training specialist, and two scientists — were announced by the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), on a special Honours List for Midwinter’s Day.

The Antarctic Medal is awarded to those have given outstanding service in scientific research or exploration, or in support of such work, delivered under the Australian Antarctic Program.

In 2020, the medals are awarded to:

  • Professor Patrick Quilty AM (awarded posthumously) led the Australian Antarctic Division’s science program for more than 18 years from 1980–1999. A geologist and palaeontologist, Pat first visited Antarctica in 1965. He played a leading role in the international Antarctic science community and published over 200 scientific research papers.
  • Bradley Collins has completed thirteen seasons of service to the Program, wintering twice and participating in over 34 Antarctic and sub-Antarctic voyages where he has made his most significant contributions as Refuelling Supervisor. He has been at the forefront of developing and refining safe procedures for AAD ship-to-shore refuelling operations.
  • Simon Cross has spent eight summers and a winter in Antarctica as a Field Training Officer. He played an instrumental role in the rescue, treatment, and medical evacuation of three injured expeditioners after a helicopter crash on the Amery Ice Shelf in 2013, inland from Davis research station.
  • Alison Dean has served as Station Leader at all of Australia's four research stations in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic over nine winters since 2010/11, and is currently Station Leader at Casey. She provides exceptional leadership in building strong and resilient communities and leading teams through a number of high intensity operations.
  • Leanne Millhouse has worked for the Australian Antarctic Division over three decades. In her capacity as Deputy Voyage Leader, Voyage Leader and Operations Coordinator, she has played leadership roles in a number of crisis situations. Her calmness, flexibility, adaptability, resilience and excellent decision-making skills have made a substantial contribution to achieving a good outcome.
  • Dr Colin Southwell has made a significant contribution to wildlife conservation and management for the Australian Antarctic Program. He developed a remotely operating camera system for seabird monitoring that is now used by many nations in Antarctica. It has become a critical component of ecosystem monitoring for the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

The Australian Antarctic Medal, established in 1987, is an award in the Meritorious Service Awards category of the Australian Honours System. 103 Medals have been awarded since 1987.