Three long-time contributors to Australia’s scientific and logistical endeavours in Antarctica have been awarded the prestigious Australian Antarctic Medal in recognition of their service to the Australian Antarctic Program.

The three medal recipients 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 Australian Antarctic Medal, previously called the Antarctic Medal, is awarded for outstanding service in scientific research or exploration in connection with an Australian Antarctic expedition, or for support of such work.

The 2023 recipients of the Antarctic Medal are:

Robert King

Since arriving at the Australian Antarctic Division in 1995, Rob’s contribution to the understanding of Antarctic krill has been immense.

His work includes designing the current state-of-the-art krill aquarium at the Australian Antarctic Division, which is the only facility of its kind in the world. This facility has attracted researchers from across the globe to conduct experiments on live krill.

Rob’s most recent innovation, the ‘wet-well’ system on RSV Nuyina, is ground-breaking in the field of experimental marine biology. The system collects live organisms in perfect condition, by allowing marine organisms to directly flow in by gravity through inlets in the ship's hull as the ship sails along.

Rob’s passion and dedication to expanding the study of Antarctic krill, which he describes as “the keystone species of the Southern Ocean ecosystem”, make him a worthy recipient of the Antarctic Medal.

Lisa Wilkinson

For the last two decades, Lisa has made an incredibly valuable contribution to Australia’s logistical endeavours in Antarctica.

As an electrician, Lisa has literally contributed to ‘keeping the lights on’ at some of Australia’s most remote postings. She is an exceptional technical writer, has delivered training related to all AAD expeditioners, and she regularly extends beyond her duties for the benefit of others.

Away from her technical skill-set, Lisa also has a reputation for establishing a rapport with co-workers, and building strong working relationships between technical groups.

Lisa has been an active member of the diversity and inclusion working group since its inception. As one of few women in her field, she aspires to see changes in the industry and workplace. She has been a staunch advocate for women's participation in the Australian Antarctic Program.

Lisa participates in the Department of Education's STEM Professional in Schools program, inspiring the next generation.

Aaron Read

Over 19 seasons Aaron Read has made an exceptional contribution to the Australian Antarctic Program.

His work has changed the way that the Australian Antarctic Division moves personnel and cargo in and out of East Antarctica. Aaron was responsible for surveying, designing, building and certifying the Wilkins Ice Runway Aerodrome in East Antarctica, located 70 km from Casey station. The runway was first opened in 2010, and has made a lasting impact on Australian operations in the Antarctic.

Seven years ago Aaron established the current system of remote opening of Wilkins during the winter months, including training of winter staff in basic survey capture.

He has delivered an outstanding safety record for the AAP and its people. Without Aaron's complete dedication and focus to the Wilkins Aerodrome task, Australia would not be in its current position of conducting up to 25 regular RAAF C17 and Airbus A319 movements to East Antarctica every summer.