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Mary Wade Prize

A biennial award for early career researchers.


About Mary Wade

The Mary Wade Prize honours Dr Mary Julia Wade (1928–2005), an 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].

The Mary Wade Prize

The $1000AUD 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 AAP publication (currently,  Alcheringa and Australasian Palaeontological Memoirs) by an early career researcher as sole or first author.

Conditions and criteria

•    ‘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.
•    Only Australasian studies or investigations utilising predominantly Australasian material are eligible.




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.

2016 - Dr Chris Mays
2018 - Dr Stephen Poropat

2020 - Dr Peter Bishop

2022 - Isaias Santos Barros

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