AAP Awards

Robert Etheridge Jr Medal

The Robert Etheridge Jr Medal will be awarded biennially by the AAP Executive Committee on the basis of lifetime contributions to Australasian palaeontology. Nominations may be submitted at any time to the AAP Executive Committee at and will remain available for consideration indefinitely, unless subsequently updated. Self-nominations will not be accepted. Nominations should include basic details of the candidate, a brief statement of the candidate’s contributions to Australasian palaeontology, and a list of the candidate’s key publications (or a comprehensive list) dealing with Australasian palaeontology.

About this award
The Robert Etheridge Jr Medal is named after Robert Etheridge Jr (1847–1920). English born, and only son of a distinguished palaeontologist, he was educated at the Royal School of Mines, London before coming to Australia in the 1860s. He worked in the Victorian Geological Survey until its termination in 1869, and returned to England in 1871. Two years later he was appointed palaeontologist to the Geological Survey of Scotland, then in 1874 he obtained a position in the Natural History Museum, London. Etheridge returned to Australia in 1887 and took up a dual role as palaeontologist to the Geological Survey of New South Wales and the Australian Museum in Sydney. From 1895 he was Curator of the Australian Museum (subsequently Director 1917-1919); under his direction the collection was much expanded and better displayed. He was awarded a grant from the Wollaston Fund by the Geological Society of London in 1877, the Clarke Medal by the Royal Society of New South Wales in 1895, and the von Mueller Medal by the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science in 1911. He was active up to his death in 1920, leaving a legacy of some 350 published papers dealing mainly with Palaeozoic invertebrate fossils from many areas of Australia. Noteworthy among these is the seminal The Geology and Palaeontology of Queensland and New Guinea by Robert L. Jack & Robert Etheridge, Jr, published in 1892 after a long collaboration. Numerous species of animals, both fossil and extant, have been named in his honour, and his name has also been given to a goldfield in Queensland, a peak in the Kosciusko plateau, and a glacier in Antarctica. 

[Summary of Serle, P., 1949. Etheridge, Robert, Jun. (1847–1920), palaeontologist. In Dictionary of Australian biography. Angus and Robertson, Sydney]

Mary Wade Prize

The Mary Wade Prize will be awarded biennially by the AAP Executive Committee for the best paper(s) published in the previous two years in a peer-reviewed AAPpublication (currently, Alcheringa and Australasian Palaeontological Memoirs) by an early career researcher as sole or first author. ‘Early career’ is defined as any tertiary student, or any researcher who has graduated less than five years previously at the time of submission of the paper. Provided authors meet the above criteria, publications by any Australasian, or by any researcher that deal with material predominantly from the Australasian region, will be eligible for consideration.

About this award

The Mary Wade Prize honours Dr Mary Julia Wade (1928–2005), Australian-born researcher in Cenozoic foraminifers; Mesozoic dinosaurs, marine reptiles and molluscs; early Palaeozoic nautiloids and the Ediacara biota. Born in Adelaide, her early love of natural history and animals led her to become a competent stockwoman. In 1947 Wade entered the Department of Geology, University of Adelaide, then headed by Douglas Mawson, completing a Bachelor of Science with Honours (1st Class) in micropalaeontology in 1954. Her thesis topic was South Australian Cenozoic foraminifers. Wade then worked as a Senior Demonstrator at the University while continuing her postgraduate studies on foraminifers, and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in 1959. She remained at the University and collaborated with Martin Glaessner on late Precambrian fossils from Ediacara in the Flinders Ranges. In 1971 she became Curator of Geology at the Queensland Museum, Brisbane, where she worked her way up progressively to Senior Curator, then Deputy Director in 1980, and finally Acting Assistant Director in 1986. During this period she focussed on Mesozoic dinosaurs and marine reptiles. One notable endeavour was her participation in excavation and study of spectacular dinosaur trackways at Lark Quarry near Winton, Queensland. She retired in 1993, but remained at the museum as an Honorary Research Associate. The following year she was awarded the Queensland Museum Medal. A Geological Society of Australia special symposium was held in her honour in 1998. Her legacy is embodied in her scientific enthusiasm and promotion of geotourism, her drive in seeing the Queensland Museum's fossil collections grow to a world class collection, and the permanent record of her diverse scientific research. 

[Summary of Alafaci, A., 2005, modified 2011. Wade, Mary Julia (1928–2005). Encyclopaedia of Australian science; and Turner, S., 2007. Invincible but mostly invisible: Australian women's contribution to geology and palaeontology. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 281, 165–202].

Robert Etheridge Jr


This medal was established in 2015, and awarded for the first time during the Palaeo Down Under 2 conference in Adelaide in July 2016. The inaugural Robert Etheridge Jr Medal was awarded to Prof Bruce Runnegar.

Mary Wade


This prize was established in 2015, and awarded for the first time during the Palaeo Down Under 2 conference held in Adelaide in July 2016. The inaugural recipient of the Mary Wade Prize Prize was Dr Chris Mays.