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Robert Etheridge Jr Medal

Awarded in honour of exemplary lifetime contribution to Australasian palaeontology.

About Robert Etheridge Jr

The Robert Etheridge Jr Medal is named after Robert Etheridge Jr (1847–1920). English born, and the 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 Kosciuszko 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]



This medal was established in 2015, and awarded for the first time during the Palaeo Down Under 2 

conference in Adelaide in July 2016.

2016 - Prof Bruce Runnegar
2018 - Dr Thomas Rich
2019 - Dr Kath Grey

2020 - Prof John Talent and Prof Barry Webby

2023 - Geoffrey Playford

Conditions and criteria

Only members of AAP are eligible for this award.
To be eligible, a member must be nominated by another member of AAP.
Nominees must have made an outstanding lifetime contribution to Australasian palaeontology.
The award may be made annually or biennially to one or more nominee (at the discretion of the AAP committee, but with no more than 4 awards in a 4-year committee term).
Criteria for judging the award will include the number and quality of publications, research communication (including to the general public) and contributions to student education.


How to nominate

Nominations may be submitted by email at any time to the AAP Executive Committee 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.


Professor Geoffrey Playford 

Congratulations to Professor Geoffrey Playford on being awarded the 2023 Robert Etheridge Jr Medal.

During his career Geoffrey worked extensively on Palaeozoic palynology, biostratigraphy, and acritarch taxonomy.

Geoffrey has authored more than 120 peer reviewed publications, 8 books and book chapters, and made significant contributions to our understanding of the late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic of Australia, Antarctica, and beyond. 

Even in his retirement, Geoffrey has been contributing to Australasian palaeontology. A powerhouse in the field, we are pleased to honour Geoffrey and his work.

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