The Australian Antarctic Medal, AAM, was introduced in 1987. This replaced the British Imperial
Polar Medal as an award for distinguished service with an Australian Antarctic Expedition.
It is awarded for outstanding service in scientific research or exploration in connection with an
Australian Antarctic expedition or for support of such work. The service or support is normally for a
period of at least 12 months.
The AAM is a nickel-silver octagon suspended from a white moiré ribbon edged on each side with
three narrow stripes of blue, representing the transition of water to ice as one approaches Antarctica.
Surmounting the medal is a small six-sided ice crystal that links the medal to its suspension bar. A
date bar attached to the ribbon denotes the period of service for which the medal is awarded. The
obverse depicts the southern hemisphere showing Australia and the Antarctic surrounded by the
inscription “For Outstanding Service in the Antarctic” and the reverse depicts an expeditioner in a
blizzard with Mawson’s Hut in the background.