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Krishna K SAPPAL

Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia

Krishna obtained his BSc and MSc degrees with First Division from Nagpur University, Nagpur, India. Later in 1966 he obtained his PhD in Applied Coal Petrology from the University of Sydney, Sydney Australia under the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan. His academic appointments include in India, UK and Curtin University, which he joined in 1970 as Lecturer in Applied Geology. At Curtin through highly competitive academic promotions he gained Professorship. The research interests include Coal Petrology and its application in exploration and utilisation, Palynology and Geoscience Education. He has extensively travelled for presentation of his research contributions at conferences in UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Ireland, Brazil, Philippines and India etc. He has contributed extensively to Research & Development, Planning & Governance and Teaching & Learning at Curtin University and some examples of these are:

Research & Development
• In excess of 100 publications including refereed papers, extended abstracts and reports of industry sponsored research projects.
• Recipient of over $1.5M of externally sponsored research and the AusAID sponsored international students.
• Successful supervision of sixteen PhD and Masters students.
• Specialist consultant to United Nations projects in Philippines and Australia.
• Fellowships of The Geological Society, AusIMM, Geology Society of Australia, Australian Institute of Management, Australian Institute of Geoscientists etc.
• Recipient of Vice-Chancellors Award for Excellence

Planning & Governance
• Fifteen years experience at several levels including School/Department, Division and the University
• Elected Chair University Academic Board/Senate
• Member Executive Council and University Council
• Head of School and Department for ten years

Teaching & Learning
• Provided leadership and guidance in curriculum development of Geology and Natural Resources programs
• Implementation and assessment of UG and PG unites in geology
• Ability to communicate with students of diverse cultures and empathy with students

After taking retirement in 2002, continued as an Adjunct Professor in Applied Geology and taught specialist units and supervised Higher Degree Research Students.

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Phillip Kenneth (Phil) SECCOMBE

Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia

My career as an exploration geologist, researcher and educator now spans over 40 years. Although it was clear I wanted to study science at university, my choice of geology may not have happened without two important influences. The first involved family outings in the 1950s on the Otway coast of Victoria, with Austin (A.B.) Edwards as an enthusiastic guide to the natural history of the Airey's Inlet area. The second came from Jim Bowler, through his inspirational lectures in first-year geology at Melbourne University in 1962.

From these beginnings, and with an MSc in economic geology and geochemistry, I headed to Fiji and Emperor Mines – that geologically youthful, classic gold deposit and great training ground for numerous Australian geologists. From there, I ventured back in geological time to the Archaean and a PhD on Cu-Zn massive sulfides in the Canadian Shield. In 1976, after a post-doc at Adelaide University with Ross Both and Peter Ypma, I took a lectureship in economic geology at the University of Newcastle, where I have happily remained.

My active participation with GSA commenced in Adelaide, where in 1974-5 I took on the job of Secretary/Treasurer for the South Australian Division. In Newcastle, I have had a long association with the Hunter Valley Branch, including two terms as Chair (1980-1; 1983-4) and Secretary/Treasurer (1984 to present!). I was honoured to Chair the Specialist Group in Economic Geology (SGEG) of the GSA from 1991 to 1994, during which time I convened the SGEG sessions at the 1992 Ballarat AGC and the SGEG National Conference in Armidale in 1993. I was also on the Editorial Board of the AJES during the 1990's, and with Peter Downes convened the economic geology technical sessions at the Sydney AGC in 2000.

As an Associate Professor in Geology at the University of Newcastle, I have had a great time working with undergraduate students, industry geologists and some wonderful postgraduate students, while researching a wide variety of ore deposit styles throughout Australia, Canada, Europe, Fiji and Indonesia. This work has resulted in 4 books and over 120 journal and conference articles on a variety of commodities including gold, base metals, nickel, platinoids, tin and industrial minerals. I have held posts such as Regional Vice-President of both the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits and the International Association on the Genesis of Ore Deposits, Visiting Professorships at Penn State University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Leoben, as well as a five-year term as Department Chair at Newcastle.

In my retirement I am enjoying my new roles as an honorary academic at Newcastle and as a consultant to the booming resource industries of Australia and Canada.

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23 April 1927 - 9 May 2007

George Seddon (born Berriwillock, Victoria), one of Australia's best known and revered scholars of environmental studies, has died peacefully in his garden in Fremantle, 16 days after his eightieth birthday.

Seddon was initially trained in English language and literature at The University of Melbourne (1950). In 1956, upon returning from several years freelance travelling and teaching at universities in Europe, Canada and the United States, Seddon was appointed to a lectureship in English Literature at the University of Western Australia. He discovered, much to his initial disgust, that the local bush was nothing like what he had grown to love in his home state of Victoria.

Never one to disown his emotions or put them aside without reflection, Seddon enrolled in undergraduate Biological and Earth Sciences while carrying a full academic research, teaching and administrative load in the English Department. Such was his new-found interest in the Swan Coastal Plain that he wrote two books on the subject and completed his Masters of Science and doctoral thesis in geology at the University of Minnesota (1964-1966).

Across five decades he held Chairs in four different disciplines (English, UWA; Geology, University of Oregon; History and Philosophy of Science, UNSW; Environmental Science, University of Melbourne) and taught at universities in Lisbon, Toronto, Bologna, Rome, Venice, Minnesota, and Oregon in addition to Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. He initiated programs in the philosophy of science at the University of Western Australia (1966-1970) and taught history and philosophy of science at the University of New South Wales, Sydney (1971-1974). He initiated new programs in environmental studies and landscape architecture at the University of Melbourne where he was first appointed founding director of the Centre for Environmental Studies (1974-1982), later becoming Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning (1982-1987). He also launched the journal Landscape Australia (1977-).

In an era of 'specialists without spirit', and of enterprise universities creating territory to ensure their fitness to survive, Seddon is that rare and endangered species that Thomas Carlyle once dubbed as 'Professor of Things-in-General'. Not only did Seddon cross the disputed turfs and boundaries of academic professions, disciplines and departments, but he made a career out of working beyond the academy in community, regional and government consultancies and studies.

At the University of Melbourne between 1974 and 1987, Seddon undertook studies on environmental assessment, landscape perception, urban design and conservation planning. He took an avid interest in the contested terrains between metropolitan suburbs and arable agricultural hinterlands, or wilderness areas in key built-up population areas. He studied the development and routing of major power stations and transmission lines through ecologically and socially sensitive areas, the energy and infrastructure needs of national parks, and bicycle plans for cities.

In 1979, with Ross King and Jeremy Pike, he also wrote the first suburban history of its kind in Australia on Hawthorn. His enthusiasm for local history and cultural heritage found expression in his loving restoration of houses in which he has lived in Melbourne and Fremantle. He has combined this with a landscape ecologist's imaginative flair for garden design that incorporates native and exotic plants suited to local climate and soil conditions. Many a reader has benefited from Seddon's practical handbooks and guides to vegetable gardens, historical and cultural heritage walks and house restoration.

Seddon as both regionalist and cosmopolitan was living testimony to the inadequacy of such dichotomous notions that to be regionalist is to be communitarian while to be a cosmopolitan is to seek the empty non-places of airport lounges and international hotels. Seddon's international reach in his various intellectual labours was as much extensive as it was a reflection of his sharp sense of place.

Extract from article by Trevor Hogan, The Age, 23 May 2007.
TAG #144 September 2007

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Edgar Ralph SEGNIT

Honorary Member of the Geological Society of Australia

1923 - 1999

Ralph Segnit, one of Australia's foremost mineralogists, died after a long illness on July 13. Ralph was educated at Adelaide High School, the studied at the University of Adelaide under Sir Douglas Mawson. After obtaining his MSc in 1945 he joined CSIRO in Melbourne from where, in 1947, armed with a studentship, he embarked to Cambridge to complete a PhD, awarded in 1950. The following year he accepted an appointment as Senior Lecturer at Adelaide University, beofre travelling to the USA, where he spent several years as Research Associate at the University of California and at Princetown University.

Returning to Melbourne in 1972, Ralph took up the position of Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Division of Mineral Chemistry in Melbourne, from where he retired at the end of 1983. Of course he didn't really retire from mineralogy, but joined a small research unit at Deakin University as adjunct professor, applying his mineralogical knowledge in archaeological research. He remained an Honorary Research Associate of CSIRO.

Throughout his vigorous and versatile research career, Ralph collaborated widely and co-published over 160 research papers. He established his international reputation in the field of gemmology, in particular for his work on the structure of precious opal. He was also an expert on refractory materials and ceramics, synthetic oxide systems and phosphate mineralogy. He co-described three new phosphate minerals, peisleyite, aldermanite and kleemanite, the last two named for his formet lectureres at Adelaide University. The University acknowledged his contributions to science with the awarding of of DSc in 1987.

Ralph achieved mineralogical immortality in 1992 with the naming of segnitite, a new lead iron arsenate mineral from Broken Hill. His ability to communicate his science earned him not only the respect of his peers, but also greatly benefited younger researchers and members of amateur groups of mineral and gem collectors. He was a foundation member and former President of the Mineralogical Society of Victoria, served on the Council of the Australian Ceramic Society and was Secretary of the IMA's Commission on Gem Materials. Ralph was also an Honoorary Member of the Geological Society of Australia.

Ralph built a life of many facets - to use a gemmological term - around his career. The most brilliant was his family; Nancee, whom he first met (and in 1950 married) through their mutual involvement in the youth group of the Presbyterian Church in Melbourne, his children Carl and Joy, and his five grandchildren. Nearly as lustrous was his circle of friends, many longstanding and built up through his extensive travels to international mineralogical and gemmological conferences. At these meetings, with their accompanying field trips to exotic destinations, Ralph, with his ability to converse quite fluently in German, was in his element. Then there was his love of wine and food and his tennis (which he was proud to be playing until he turned 75). Perhaps binding all together was his life-long involvement with his church, proof for some, science and faith can live happily side-by-side.

It is said that Ralph's first mineralogical experience as a child was with some opal specimens from Andamoooka and that later he used one of these specimens in his study of the physical structure of precious opal. It is perhaps fitting that amongst his last projects was the production of a definitive guide to opals for a CD-ROM.

Throughout his illness, Ralph maintained his positive, cheerful and helpful approach to family, friends and colleagues, and to life in general. It's these aspects of his character, as much as his extensive body of scientific research, which will help us remember him.

BILL BIRCH, Museum Victoria
TAG #112, September 1999

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Honorary Correspondent Member of the Geological Society of Australia

Brian Skinner was born in 1928 in Wallaroo, South Australia. His father was a bank manager and because country bank managers moved from town to town as they advanced in the system, Brian saw a lot of the state, living progressively in Clare, Penola, and Angaston, until he was finally shipped off to Adelaide to attend Prince Alfred College, from which he graduated in 1945. He attended the University of Adelaide, intending to matriculate in chemistry and physics, but Sir Douglas Mawson's introductory course in geology convinced him that chemistry and geology would be a better pairing. Perhaps the choice was partly genetic, as his great grandfather, Joshua Skinner, who had emigrated from Cornwall, had served as the long-time surface manager of Moonta Mines.
After getting a BSc in 1948 he spent a further year at the University of Adelaide under the direction of Eric Rudd, earning a BSc Hon. (first class), then set off to Tasmania where he worked as a geologist in the Aberfoyle tin mine. The consulting geologist for Aberfoyle at the time was Terence Connolly, and the combined recommendations of Mawson, Rudd and Connolly lead him to seek graduate studies at Harvard University, entering in September 1951, where he studied with Hugh McKinstry, J.B. Thompson, Francis Birch, and Clifford Frondel. His PhD thesis was on high temperature thermal expansion properties of various minerals, supervised by Birch for the geophysical aspects, and by Frondel for the crystallographic aspects. During one of the summers of his graduate-student years he worked for the International Nickel Company on the structure of the western end of the Sudbury structure, and for a second summer he worked for the Reynolds Metals Company, assessing fluorspar prospects in the western United States. Married in 1954 to Catherine Wild, a fellow graduate student, he returned with his bride to Adelaide where he joined the staff of the University of Adelaide; he taught crystallography and mineralogy, studied the Nairne pyrites deposit, and mapped some of the Kanmantoo in conjunction with Alf Kleeman. His wife Catherine, in the meantime, completed her PhD studies on the dolomites and protodolomites of the Coorong under the direction of Arthur Alderman.
An unexpected offer to join the research staff of the USGS in 1958 led the Skinner family to move to Washington, D.C., where, in 1959, Brian became a member of the Branch of Experimental Geochemistry and Mineralogy—he was appointed Chief of the Branch in 1962. Most of his research during the USGS years was focused on thermal expansion of minerals, exploring the use of sphalerite as a geothermometer, and investigating the sulfide mineral assemblage deposited by the Salton Sea geothermal brine. In 1966 Brian accepted an offer from Yale University, to join the Department of Geology and Geophysics, where he continues to teach, research and write to the present time. He currently holds the Eugene Higgins Chair of Geology and Geophysics.
Among other activities, Brian spent several years as a member of the team that planned activities for the astronauts when they landed on the Moon; he was also a principal investigator of some of the returned lunar samples. He edited the journal of Economic Geology for about 20 years, and made detailed studies of the structure, stratigraphy, and mineralogy of the Sterling Hill zinc mine in New Jersey. His students and he have carried out research on such diverse topics and places as barite deposits in southern China; kimberlite petrology, and the flux of water through the Bushveldt, in South Africa; mineralization in the Macarthur Basin in Australia; mineralization of the Viburnam Trend in North America; and mineralization in central Ireland. He and his students have also carried out a lot of research into the phase relations of sulfide minerals systems.

Brian has served as president of three scientific societies; the Geochemical Society (1973), the Geological Society of America (1985), and the Society of Economic Geologists (1996). Among the awards he has received are the Geological Association of Canada Medal, the Neil Miner Award of the National Association of Geology Teachers (US), the Futer's Gold Medal of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy (UK), the Silver, and Penrose Medals of the Society of Economic Geologists, an honorary Doctor of Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, and an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Toronto.

Brian was nominated for Honorary Corresponding Membership by the South Australian Division and he was awarded Honorary Corresponding Membership in 2008.

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Professor Mike Solomon

We are deeply saddened to report the passing of Professor Mike Solomon on May 27, 2009. Mike made an outstanding contribution to the development of economic geology, both in Australia and internationally, most notably through his pioneering work on volcanic-associated deposits, which put the Mount Read Volcanic Arc firmly in the lexicon of geologists around the world.
Over two decades, from 1965 to 1983, Mike laid the foundations for the study of economic geology at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), publishing a series of major papers, commonly with his graduate students, on a diverse range of base and precious metal deposits. A near universal theme was the synthesis of traditional descriptive economic geology with the modern emphasis on understanding the chemical and physical processes of mineralisation.
The following decade (1983–1993) saw the production of the landmark volume The geology and origin of Australia's mineral deposits, co-authored with David Groves, while Mike was working for the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (Geoscience Australia). In 1993, Mike returned to UTAS as CODES' Visiting Professor, where he pursued his career-long interest in the genesis and tectonic setting of VHMS deposits, while stimulating another generation of students of economic geology to be a tad more curious.
Traits that were abundantly evident throughout his working life were his desire and ability to test the limits, which often led to new ways of thinking and advances in the understanding of the science. Not surprisingly, his work focused on questions inspired by the world-class VHMS deposits of western Tasmania and the new thinking on exhalative processes that he helped inspire and lead. One of his many respected and influential publications was 'The formation of massive sulfide deposits on the seafloor' — co-authored with John Walshe and published in Economic Geology in 1979. This visionary work correctly predicted the existence of 'black smokers' on the seafloor — a view that was met with a great deal of scepticism from his peers at the time.
The approach was novel — the sedimentologist's flume was commandeered, sugar solutions (analogues for hot fluids) investigated and buoyant "black smokers" observed, as predicted by theory. The inefficiency of nature's apparent chosen mechanism for building resources on the seafloor was apparent to all who chose to wander into the laboratory. The paradox of giant VHMS deposits forming by mechanisms that fail to trap much of the metal puzzled Mike for 30 years and led to investigation of other possible mechanisms of trapping. In his golden years, he investigated the possibility of forming brine pools on the seafloor. Although not a fashionable concept, he may yet be proven to have been right.
In 1972, he initiated the first papers on the evolution of ore deposits in relation to the plate-tectonic evolution of the Tasman Orogenic Zone, and The geology and origin of Australia's mineral deposits is still considered the premier overview of those deposits and their setting more than 15 years after its publication.
In addition to his many academic achievements, Mike will be remembered for his ability to bring geology alive and make it fun. As a young lecturer he was particularly popular with his students for his willingness to join in at social functions and his capacity to introduce intriguing topics to the lecture theatre. On one occasion his guest speaker gave a talk on 'Pyrite, politics and promiscuity in Cuba'.
The Society of Economic Geology recognised his highly distinguished international career with the award of the Penrose Medal in 2008. State and national accolades included the Heemskirk Medal (1979) and the Stillwell Award (1987). As a teacher, researcher, mentor, writer, and interpreter of our times, Mike Solomon made an unusually rich and original contribution. His influence sprang from a genuine desire to understand, a sense of the bigger picture and an eye for students and associates he thought would help him to develop that picture. His drive gave him an international profile and his links with colleagues in North America and Europe were a source of inspiration and pleasure.
Mike has been a mentor to numerous geologists over the years. Unsurprisingly, some of his students went on to become leaders in economic geology research and mineral exploration: David Groves (Emeritus Professor University of Western Australia) and later PhD graduates John Walshe (Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO), Geoff Green (Manager at Mineral Resources Tasmania) and Noel White (ex Chief Geologist for BHP). Ross Large (Director of CODES) was one of his early Honours graduates, and Chris Heinrich (Professor at ETH) was a postdoctoral researcher at AGSO. They, along with the many others in academe and in industry that have a 'lineage' to Mike Solomon, know that in his passing the community has lost a character, a leader, a mentor and, most of all, a friend.
TAG #152, September 2009

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Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia

Educated at the Princes Hill Primary School and University High School, Parkville, Victoria. After finishing school in 1942 enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force in early 1943, working on airborne wireless and radar equipment. Following discharge, granted the opportunity to study in science at the University of Melbourne under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme. Graduated BSc, majoring in geology, in early 1950. An interest in geology had been stimulated by an enthusiastic teacher at UHS.

In 1950 appointed as a Field Geologist to the Geological Survey of Victoria, then a branch of the State Mines Department. For the next 15 years worked on a range of projects encompassing regional mapping, mineral surveys, groundwater and engineering geology. However main interest was in regional and structural mapping in western and eastern Victoria. A thesis on the geological and structure of the Grampian Ranges of western Victoria was successfully submitted to the University of Melbourne for PhD in 1959. Promoted as Senior Geologist in 1963 in charge of regional mapping and commenced the task of achieving a coverage of the State by 1:250000 maps in line with the aim of the Commonwealth and State Surveys. Following retirement of Dr David Thomas in 1967, appointed Director of Geological Survey, a position held for next 11 years.

As the States economy continued to grow, the government passed legislation to control the demands for construction materials, environment protection, oil search and groundwater. The role of Director became increasingly administrative with membership of the Extractive Industries Committee, Environmental Protection Council, Groundwater Advisory Committee, Drillers Licensing Board and the Land Conservation Council representing Departmental Head.

The Mines Department was amalgamated into a new Department of Minerals and Energy (1977) and in late 1978 appointed Deputy Secretary of the Department. Retired end of August 1986.

Published work over the working career mainly in Memoir, Bulletin and various journals.

A foundation member of the Geological Society, Committee member, Division Chairman (1970), member of the Education sub-Committee and 10 years as membership officer in the 1990s, member of Selwyn Medal Selection Committee until 2004. Fellowship awarded 2003. During early 1960s councillor and Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society of Victoria.

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Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

I discovered geology 'by accident' by enrolling in Geology 1 as a fill-in subject, at Adelaide University in 1948. Previously, I had been an unwilling and largely unsuccessful student, but motivated by Lecturer Alan Wilson and Professor Sir Douglas Mawson, I completed the degree course in 1950.

Professor Eric Rudd, Head of Economic Geology at Adelaide, advised me that the newly started Snowy Scheme in NSW should provide exciting work, as it would involve dams, tunnels and underground buildings. After 10 months of clerical work in an Adelaide factory, I joined the Snowy Mountains Authority (SMA) in November 1951.

I went briefly to Adelaide in May 1952 and returned with a new bride, Moorna, who became a Radio Operator for the SMA. That job provided her with a small room in Cooma, which I shared, usually only at weekends. In 1954 we moved into an asbestos cottage in Cooma North. Our first 2 daughters, Julie and Annette, were born in Cooma.

It was a privilege to work for Dan Moye, Head of the SMA Engineering Geology Branch. He was a practical perfectionist, and made it clear to his team of about 10 geologists that the results of our geological work would be useful only if they
- Correctly answered the engineering questions raised by the proposed works, and
- Provided the answers in clear, unambiguous ways.

Hence as well as developing our geological, drawing and language skills, we had to learn some engineering. This was done by working and living with engineers, and by reading. I was lucky to work for 3 years with Clive Wood who had both geology and engineering degrees.

Most of us joined the GSA, and despite being scattered around the SMA region we managed to have a few technical meetings, in Cooma.

After 4 years of mainly feasibility studies, I became responsible for most of the design stage geological work for Tumut 2 Project, which involved a dam, tunnels and an underground power station. When the design was complete I made an intensive 6-month tour of major dams and underground works in Europe and North America. On return in 1958, we lived the next 2 years in Cabramurra, and I was responsible for geological services during the construction of all the Upper Tumut works. During this time I compiled a report on geological studies at Tumut 2 Power Station, which was later accepted as an MSc thesis.

Between 1960 and 1963 I spent two dry-seasons exploring sites for major dams across the Mekong River, in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. The Family lived next to the Mekong near each site, and it was good for us all to see how other people lived.

In 1964 we returned to Adelaide, and our younger children, Lucinda and Geofrey were born there during the 1960s. I worked for the SA Department of Mines, and as head of Engineering Geology was responsible for geological studies for public buildings, major roads and bridges, tunnels, and for Chowilla, Kangaroo Creek, Sturt River, Clarendon and Middle River dams.

I joined Coffey & Partners, Consulting Engineers, in 1970 and opened the Adelaide office. My work for the next 7 years was in all states of Australia and in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and involved dams, tunnels, highways, railways and mines. As an independent witness, I assisted in the resolution of a number of contractual disputes.

Throughout my working life I had enjoyed being both a learner and a teacher, and in 1977 when the Head of Applied Geology position at SA Institute of Technology became vacant, I applied for it and was successful. I continued to work as a consultant in Australia and overseas, through the Institute's research body. Earnings were used to buy equipment, and to fund student travel interstate to see major engineering works. I was made Professor of Applied geology in 1978.

In 1979, I was President of the SA Division of the Society, and from 1979 to 1983 I was Vice President for Australasia, of the International Association of Engineering Geologists. I retired in 1993 (from the then University of SA) and continued as a consultant until 2005. In 1995 I received the John Jaeger Memorial Medal, for contributions to Australian Geomechanics.

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Philip Jon Stephenson


With the sudden death of Jon Stephenson on May 24, the profession has lost one of its stalwarts and a founding figure of the modern era in Queensland. Rural Australia has produced a disproportionate number of outstanding geologists and Jon was one of that number. Schooled largely at Warwick on the southern Darling Downs, the youngest in a family of six boys, Jon completed his education at the University of Queensland during which time he was awarded a Queensland Medal, and at Imperial College, London where he graduated with a doctorate in 1959. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the commencement of geology at James Cook University. Jon was its foundation staff member, appointed in 1962, and departmental head in the critically important formative years of its first decade. He set the pathway, with foresight and high accomplishment, which led to Earth Science emerging as a recognized area of research strength for JCU and as the centre for the discipline in Queensland, and also in the national fabric of higher education. The practicalities of early-stage development involved enabling teaching programs and their support, but
Jon’s enduring legacy was leadership in research aspiration, a strong commitment to building research infrastructure and an unwavering focus in developing research capacity through appropriate staff appointments across the full breadth of the discipline. The pathway was not easy. Geology was
the last foundation department of the University to be recognized with a professorial appointment, and among the last departments to be moved from the original site at Pimlico, where most geology staff occupied demountable buildings, to the current Douglas campus. But the outcome was one of very considerable achievement.

As for many of us, Jon’s attraction to Earth Science was intimately associated with a love of outdoor pursuits. But he was set apart, by passion and accomplishment, from an early age. Solo mountaineering exploits as a school boy led to prominence at university, as a founding member of the bushwalking club, for climbing feats in Queensland including first ascents on new pathways for several peaks. Choice of the Mount Barney igneous
complex for doctoral study was a seamless progression, combining mountaineering and geology. High achievement in both pursuits, combined with outstanding personal qualities, resulted in his selection for membership of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE), under the leadership of Sir Vivian Fuchs, in 1956-7. Following three months of very challenging trail-blazing across then unchartered wilderness, in his case largely by dog sled, Jon became the first Australian to reach the South Pole and one of an elite group to achieve a trans-Antarctic crossing at that time, arguably the last great feat of expeditionary accomplishment. In retirement, his deep interest in Antarctic exploration was rekindled, culminating in publication by Rosenberg Press of his fascinating, detailed, personal TAE account “Crevasse Roulette” in 2009. He was recognised with an Australian Geographic Lifetime of Adventure award in the same year.

Jon’s close colleagues remember him with great warmth, as a salutary exponent of those admirable “old world” attributes of ever courteous and professional interaction, circumspection, balance, and enduring support for others. Recognition of these personal qualities and standing were embodied in the informal name given him by departmental colleagues and students alike: he was universally referred to as PJ. As a teacher Jon was traditional, thorough and exacting. He provided a valuable foundation in mineralogy and igneous petrology for generations of undergraduate students and was a guiding, supporting and value-adding hand in the studies of many postgraduates and honours candidates. His ongoing combination of geological and expeditionary pursuits took him to the Himalayas, where he went within a whisker of the first ascent of K12, and Heard and Ambron Islands. He was a motivational force for research aspiration of those around him, with his own significant contributions to knowledge of intrusive igneous assemblages in north Queensland and particularly, through his life-long interest, to documentation of Queensland’s younger volcanic systems. The publication of the “Geology of Northeastern Australia” of which Jon was a co-editor, was a statement of his industry and contribution. He was a lifetime supporter of the Geological Society of Australia, with an ongoing contribution to its activities, not least as convenor of the 3rd Geological Convention held in Townsville in 1978.

In spite of long periods of poor health since retirement in 1995 Jon’s interest in the discipline never failed and he was regularly in touch with friends and colleagues on his own perspectives on issues and new
developments in Earth Science. That he attended a research seminar at JCU just days before his death was no surprise. PJ was uniquely moulded, is irreplaceable, and is sadly missed by his many colleagues and friends across the profession. For many of us, his passing marks the end of an era for the
geological community in Queensland.



Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia

1925 – 2011

Neville Stevens was born in Sydney in 1925. He attended Canterbury High School, and the University of
Sydney. At University he majored in Geology and Chemistry, winning the Deas-Thomson Scholarship and attaining a First-Class Honours in Geology. He then held teaching and research positions as a Teaching Fellow and a Linnaean Macleay Fellow at the University of Sydney. He later joined the Geological Survey of New South Wales but only for a short time, as he was attracted back to teaching by an invitation to become a lecturer in geology at the University of Western Australia. He obtained his PhD in 1955 from the University of New South Wales for studies of central western New South Wales Palaeozoic rocks, and the following year took theposition of Lecturer in Geology at the University of Queensland, where he remained until his retirement in 1988. For a period he was also Sub-Dean of the University of Queensland Science Faculty. Neville Stevens did geological mapping for the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority during the summers of 1956-59. His interests then changed to petrology of volcanic rocks and near-surface intrusions in the Brisbane area, resulting in his study of the Mount Alford ring-complex as well as detailed mapping
of the lavas of the Main Range. He also investigated the Lamington Volcanics around Mt Warning, the Glass House Mountains, the craters and lavas at Coalstoun Lakes (near Gayndah), and the Brisbane Tuff.
During the 1960s and 1970s, when the focus of the geological profession was on the rapidly expanding minerals and petroleum industry, Neville was among the first in Queensland to recognise that geological knowledge also must be communicated to students and the general public at an appropriate level. His book Geological Excursions in South-east Queensland became a well-known classic for students and many others in this region. It was revised as A Guide Book to Field Geology in Southeast Queensland in 1973 and as the Queensland Field Geology Guide in 1984, and it is still being used.

Neville also recognised the need to protect important geological sites from obliteration, so that students and the public would have examples of geological processes to draw on in the future. He became foundation convenor of the Geological Monuments Subcommittee of the Queensland Division of the Geological Society of Australia in 1974, and held that position for a number of years. He also was the federal convenor for a period. During this time he campaigned with various government agencies for recognition and
protection of sites in and around Brisbane in particular. Neville was president of the Royal Society of Queensland in 1983 and Editor of their publication for eleven years. Sabbaticals and periods of study
leave enabled him to spend time at universities in UK, Europe, New Zealand and Japan. Highlights of the work overseas included observations of active volcanos in Hawaii, and a flight around the active dome of Mount Saint Helens. Neville had a keen interest in photography and his skill in this art enabled him to illustrate his lectures on physical geology with appropriate photographs taken by him on his trips throughout Australia and overseas. This aspect of his teaching is well remembered by many of his students, and helped develop their own eyes for landscapes and the influence of geology on their formation. In some cases it probably influenced students to convert a first-year fill-in subject to a major and a career.

In 1976, 1981, and 1984 he participated in compiling three books on the Geological Elements of the National Estate in Queensland, which were made possible by National Estate grants. The first of these, dealing with the larger interesting landscape features, was influential in establishing several new National Parks over geologically interesting areas, such as Lawn Hill Gorge, the Undara lava tubes, and the White Mountains. Over the years Neville gave much of his time in assisting various National Park agencies in compiling
the geological sections of pamphlets and educational signs. In more recent years, along with Warwick Willmott, Neville coauthored several of the Society's popular Rocks and Landscapes booklets, including Sunshine Coast, and Brisbane & Ipswich. He also helped in the compilation of the Rocks and Landscape Notes
leaflets. In 2002 Neville was honoured by the Queensland Division of the Geological Society of Australia, by the creation of a medal in his name. The Neville Stevens Medal is awarded annually to a person for
their contribution to the geological community and promotion of education and public awareness of Earth Sciences in Queensland. Over the years Neville Stevens has laid the foundations for communication between the profession and the public, which we need to continue to build on to demonstrate the continuing
relevance of earth sciences to modern society.

Neville was 85 years old, and is survived by his wife Nell, his son Rob, and his family. He will be fondly remembered by his family, friends, and many geologists in Queensland and around Australia.



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Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

Dr E.K. Sturmfels (1917- ) has had a long career as a Consulting Geologist based in Melbourne, giving up full-time work only when he was in his eighties, though he has never officially retired. He was born in Bonn, Germany, the son of Professor Wilhelm Sturmfels, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt, and Frau Dr Hedwig Sturmfels. He grew up in Frankfurt, attended the Universities of Bonn and Freiburg, where he completed his D.Sc., and worked extensively on rock salt and potash projects in southern Germany.

In 1948 he was invited by the Australian Government to come and work for the Bureau of Mineral Resources in Canberra on a two-year contract. In 1950 he was offered a further two-year contract by Zinc Corporation, which meant undertaking extensive exploration in the Carnarvon Basin, W.A. under the aegis of Mr Maurie Mawby (Enterprise Exploration Co. Pty Ltd). In 1952, having recently married his wife Barbara, an Australian, and having been back to Germany to visit his family, he moved to Melbourne and commenced a lengthy and versatile career as a Consulting Geologist, one of the earliest in Australia.

Dr Sturmfels describes himself as working mainly in non-metallic minerals (such as kaolin), but a glance through his reports shows that he also worked on gold and other metals, oil exploration, as well as advising clients tendering for large engineering projects with the Snowy Mountains Authority. Amongst the numerous clients who sought his help were Papuan Apinaipi Petroleum; Enterprise of New Guinea Gold & Petroleum Development N.L.; and S.N. Rodda Pty Ltd. Geological colleagues who meant a good deal to him included Rhodes Fairbridge, Reg Matthews, Bill Sharpe, Bill Patterson and Nell Ludbrook.

From time to time he has returned to Europe where he has lectured geology students on low-budget field exploration, always his greatest love. Typically, it was always his preference to work on his own, with a trusty field assistant (including Bruce Easdown and Philip Margolis), and minimal technological support; and he spent much of his working life in field work in remote and little-known parts of outback Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu. He was never happier than when setting out yet again with two lumpy canvas bags containing his much-loved survey instruments and stout boots; and increasingly-battered brown attache case holding the still-blank fieldwork notebooks, sharpened pencils and as yet unfilled sample bags. He would disappear, sometimes for months at a time; always returning safely laden with samples and data to be analysed and reported on in scrupulous detail. And for him geology was always as much an art as a science – a beautifully-drawn field map was more important than meeting some report deadline!

Despite having fragile health in childhood (he suffered from T.B.), his health blossomed in these tough conditions and he is now a contented ninety year-old. Although he sometimes claims that he would have liked to have been a farmer, geology with its opportunities for adventure in faraway places suited him very well. He has been indeed fortunate to have worked at a time when geology came of age in Australia and when the excitement of exploration and discovery were never far away.

B. and M. Sturmfels, Diamond Creek, June 2, 2007

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Shen-Su SUN

1943 - 2005

The light of Dr. Shen-Su Sun - a brilliant geochemist of international standing, an intellectual and a most generous human being - was extinguished at 6.15 p.m. on 25th of February, 2005, after a long fight with cancer, in the presence of his loving wife Ching-Oh and family. In accord with his will, his ashes were spread in the Pacific Ocean - metaphorically bridging Shen-Su's origins in China with his adopted homeland.

Shen-Su's last written words signify the dignity and modesty which characterise some of the great sceintists he admired: "Please ask Warren Sun and other friends not to write any glorifying obituary about me, because I did not have any glorious performance at all, and... [unfinished sentence], signed: Sun Shen-Su 3.00 a.m.," 14th February, 2005.

An authority on trace elements, isotope geochemistry and geochronology, Shen-Su's research focussed on original analytical and theoretical studies of trhe composition and dynamics of the Earth's mantle and derived magmas in the modern and ancient Earth. The fruits of his life-long quest are published in numerous landmark papers concerned with the rare earth (REE), Zr, Y, Ti, Nb, siderophile (Ni, Co, platinum group) trace elements, Pb-Pb, U-Pb and Sm-Nd isotope geochemistry, Archaean high-magnesium volcanics, the implication of stable oxygen and sulphur isotopes for mineralization and the unravelling of chronological events in Precambrian terrains.

Shen-Su was born in Fujian Province on the 27th of October, 1943, during the traumatic years of the Japanese occupation of China and later the Chinese civil war. He married his class-mate - Ching-Oh - in 1969, and they had two children - Robert in 1974 and Frank in 1977. His academic brilliance was recognised at an early stage at the National Taiwan University, advancing him rapidly through the grades. This was followed by a PhD scholarship at Columbia University, New York, and NASA's Johnson Space Centre, Houston, during 1968-1973 under the supervision of Paul Gast - the celebrated geochemist.

Shen-Su conducted post-doctoral studies with Gilbert Hanson at the University of New York at Stonybrook from 1973-1975. Subsequently he was invited to the University of Adelaide by Roye Rutland and Bob Nesbitt in 1975, where he led the pioneering studies in the geochemistry of Archaean komatiites, high magnesian basalts and other rock types, with implications for the composition of the early Earth's mantle. In 1977 he joined the CSIRO Mineral Research Laboratories in Sydney studying stable oxygen and sulphur isotopes with Graham Carr, Roy Whitworth and Anita Andrews. He joined the newly reorganised Bureau of Mineral Resources (now Geoscience Australia) in 1981, undertaking isotopic age programs in conjunction with regional geology mapping programs and mineral studies. Shen-Su retired in 1999, continuing as a visiting scientist with Geoscience Australia and as active supervisor of students at the AUstralian National University and universities in mainland China and Taiwan - helping to bring up a new generation of Chinese geochemists.

As a student Shen-Su's extraordinary talent was recognised by his supervisors, who allowed his promotion all the way to University without having to undergo the various entry examinations (Warren Sun). While completing his PhD thesis on Pb isotope systematics of oceanic islands, during the exciting era of the lunar landings, he used to come back from his meetings with Paul Gast with a big triumphant smile - having demonstrated some new ideas (Bor-Ming Jahn). Shen-Su was the last PhD student of Paul Gast, who died at the age of 44 in 1974. Shen-Su's research was then conducted in collaboration with his wife Ching-Oh, who achieved her MSc in the study of rare earth element partition coefficients. Some of Shen-Su's papers have been cited over 500 times, and one even reaching about 3000.

Shen-Su's post-doctoral fellowship in Adelaide, funded by grants to Roye Rutland from a syndicate of Broken Hill companies, was intended to provide complimentary geochemical data to the structural-petrological work done at Adelaide at the time. Shen-Su transformed the science of geochemistry in Adelaise (Bob Nesbitt). Papers on geochemistry of komatiites, ocean basalts and the upper mantle in late 1970s and early 1980s, co-authored with Bob Nesbitt, became classic.

Bob Nesbitt recalls: "He was always eager to engage in any project and it was my good fortune that he chose to work on komatiites. Since 1970, we had been struggling to interpret the geochemistry of komatiites. We had a wealth of beautiful samples and even beter XRF data and he proved the catalyst to provide its understanding. I can stil see him in the corridor of the Geology Department, his finger creating imaginary circles in the air as he did the calculation, announcing that yet another Spinifex-tectured komatiite had a Ti/Zr ratio of 110. 'That's chondritic and they have to be primitive melts!'"

During his time in Adelaide (1975-1979) Shen-Su contributed enormously to the quality and output of the mass spectrometry laboratories. He introduced the then very new technique of rare earth element analysis by isotope dilution and from this came much of the Adelaide contribution to the komatiite debate. "One of the most enduring memories for me (Dean Hoatson) of Shen-Su's inquisitive mind was his persistence in questioning the quality and integrity of geochemical-isotopic data. Rather than submitting a one-off spurious chondritic ratio to the trash bin, he would continually investigate its significance and ask the question in a similar vein to other eminent scientists - 'why is this so?'"

During Shen-Su's years in the Bureau of Mineral Resources (now Geoscience Australia) (1981-1999) he collaborated with numerous projects, which benefitted enormously from his contributions, including joint studies with John Sheraton, Rod Page, Lance Black, Lynton Jaques, Andrew Glikson, Dean Hoatson, David Huston, Mike Solomon and many others.

John Sheraton recalls: "His knowledge of geochemistry was legendary - he could quote obscure element ratios in many rock types from memory. He was always willins to help people with their work, and was a source of both information and inspiration to me... He was real gentleman who very rarely spoke ill of anyone." Myself (Andrew Glikson) being a field geologist and Shen-Su an expert geochemist, we spent many long hours discussing the resolution of geological problems in terms of source compositions, magma fractionation, isotopic age parameters, early crustal evolution and age sequences in high grade metamorphic terrains in connection with Archaean-Proterozoic studies throughout Australia. In some instances our field data and geochemical criteria would agree, sometimes they would not - often my mind would go numb trying to keep up with Shen-Su's encyclopaedic knowledge of the periodic table, diagnostic trace element abundances and ratios, and the significance of isotopic systematics.

Since retiring in 1999, in part as he stated in order to allow a position for younger scientists, Shen-Su was concerned with supervision of Chinese students in Australia and overseas, as well as with issues of scientific policy in China, writing a series of critiques. His intellectual integrity has earned him the admiration of many young scientists, but also raised the displeasure of some of the establishment (Bor-Ming Jahn, Warren-Sun).

The greatest impression Shen-Su made on his colleagues arose from his open-minded generosity. His close friend Warren-Sun wrote: "Shen-Su was a virtuous man, a man of high integrity, and a real gentleman in the Confucian sense, 'junzi', meaning a princely and towering figure, not because he has royal blood, but because of his superior moral qualities." Bob Nesbitt recalls, "But my abiding memory of Shen-Su is his unstinting scientific generosity. No matter what the problem, he always contributed with an instinctive positive suggestion. He had a hunger to understand geochemical data and having explained it, he would never ask for an acknowledgement in the subsequent publication.

"As for my students here in Southampton, they will say that the best piece of information I ever gave them was Shen-Su's email address! I am sure there are, on every continent, untold numbers of undergraduates, graduates, postdocs and university researchers who would testify to the marvellous quality. Many of them would be the authors of manuscripts, who having received his review were privileged to have him follow the matter up with lengthy correspondence." Bill McDonough wrote: "I will always remember a conversation between Malcolm McCullough and Shen-Su (my PhD supervisors), Shen-Su said, 'It is our job to mentor him during his PhD and to send him off to his first position, from there he's on his own and he will be able to do the same for others.'" His sense of unselfish giving was unmatched. John Tarney states: "We have lost both a brilliant geochemist, and a gentleman also."

A former student - Weidong Sun wrote: "Once I asked Shen-Su: 'Why do you devote so much time helping others?' He said: 'That's what I should do. Many people helped me when I was young. Now, I am in the position of helping others.'" Yaoling-Niu wrote, "Shen-Su, a great scientist, a great mentor to so many, and an extremely decent man with an unusually unselfish mind." Zheng-Xiang Li Wrote: "To me Shen-Su is not only a global scientific leader, he is also the most unselfish scientist I have ever known." In the words of Weidong-Sun: "Shen-Su was a nationalist. He spent his whole life helping others, in particular young scientists from mainland China and Taiwan. He was concerned very much about the reputation overseas of geosciences in mainland China and Taiwan. Shen-Su was also an internationalist - he admired different nationalities, he had profound knowledge on the history and culture of different people: British, Jewish, Indian, Russian, Japanese, etc."

A prime example of Shen-Su's generosity of spirit was his donation of his financial renumeration in China to 38 school kids at Dabieshan, one of the poorest mountainous regions in China. In the competitive, often-brutal race of today's scientific world, the love and admiration which colleagues felt for Shen-Su stands as an ethical beacon. Not wishing to compromise his independence and integrity, Shen-Su declined several offers of collaboration and promotion. I knew Shen-Su felt humbled by the recommendation to appoint him as a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science by the great Ted Ringwood. His colleague Tony Crawford wrote: "He was an exceptional person, and if each of us could aspire to follow his example, the geoscience community and the world around us would be a much better place."

Rodney Page identified Shen-Su's ethics accurately, stating: "Shen-Su went beyond the geosciences in his pursuits of the truth." This accords with my own reflections (Andrew Glikson) - we were closely related in terms of our mutual interest in philosophy, psychology and history as with Earth science. A great reader, Shen-Su was forever interested in the widest spectrum of topics. Inspired by special ideas, he would excitedly recommend and give books and monographs as gifts to friends. Shen-Su Sun was a unique among us - his scientific and humanitarian legacies will continue to burn brightly for many more years to come.

Acknowledgements: We thank Ching-Oh, Bob Nesbitt, Warren Sun, Bor-Ming Jahn, Weidong Sun, Rodney Page, Bill McDonough, John Sheraton, Tony Crawford and Yaoling Niu for their contributions to this obituary.

ANDREW GLIKSON, Research School of Earth Science, Australian National University
TAG #134, March 2005

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1924 - 2004

David Svenson is known to many readers of The Australian Geologist for his frequent and often somewhat provocative letters to the Editor. To cite Brenda Franklin when she retired as TAG editor (TAG #123, June 2002): "a special vote of thanks goes to David Svenson, from Queensland (the 'arch-fascist'), who regularly offers advice and help."

David is remembered by his friends and colleagues as a scrupulously honest and loyal person. He was also very passionate, holding strong, hotly expressed views on many matters ranging from geology to politics, local and international.

He strongly supported the formation of the Geological Society of Australia and was proud to be a Foundation Member. He was behind the formation of a Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority Branch (TAG #124 & #125, Sept & Oct 2002). He was a fellow of the Australasian Instutute of Mining and Metallurgy.

David was born in Sydney, the son of a Swedish immigrant who settled there. He was educated at Sydney High School, and enlisted in the armed services in 1942, actively serving in an intelligence unit in New Guinea, and takinf part in the Allied landing at Balikpapan in Borneo. Following demobilisation David went to the University of Sydney completing his BSc course with honours in Geology in 1950.

David had a long and successful careers in industry. In 1951-52 he was employed by the Australasian Petroleum Pty Ltd as a Field Geologist in Papua New Guinea. His Army jungle training, and his translation skills in the trade languages now known as Police Motu and Tok Pisin, made him a valued member of the exploration team.

In August 1952 he joined the Snowy Mountains Hyrdo-electric Authority as one of Dan Moye's team of Engineering Geologists investigating sites for dams, tunnels and power stations, Most investigations were team efforts, thus David contributed much to the investigation of a number of projects but mostly anonymously. He was however responsible for the bulk of the investigation of the Tooma-Tumut tunnel. And his mapping helped build up the regional geology particularly in the rugged terrain in the Geehi valley, the western flanks of Mt. Koscuiszko and the Talbingo area.

After a study tour of Europe and a period of in-service training with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Denver in 1958-59 he transferred from Geology Branch to Materials Branch in 1960 and specialised in soil and rock mechanics working under engineer Aubrey Hosking who headed up the testing laboratories. He directed field investigation for construction materials for several of the Authority's major dams and other projects. In 1968 he braved the tigers, wild elephants and guerillas in northern Malaysia to help carryouut the first stage investigation of the Pergau hydroelectric scheme. Subsequently the Snowy Mountains engineering Corporation empleted the design exploration of this project in 1990 and it was constructed shortly thereafter.

David spent almost seventeen years with the Authority leaving in August 1969. He was an important member of the team of geologists that established and developed the profession of Engineering Geology in Australia.

In late 1969 he moved to Queensland and undertook the role of Exploration Manager for Theiss Holding Limited. He provided engineering and geotechnical services for the Theiss Mining and Construction Groups covering their work in the Bowen Basin and other Australian locations.

In the period 1986-1991, he expanded his range if expertise to include mine planning investigations, including work on new coal mines in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. In 1999 he gave evidence as an expert witness to the Thredbo Landslip Enquiry in relation to a landslip in 1964 at the Winterhaus Lodge site in Thredbo Village.

David's bibliography includes a number of contributions, usually as joint author, to symposia on coal exploration and mining.

David's health deteriorated over the past five years, and he struggled against the combined efforts of several illnesses. His ongoing activities were made possible by the continuing help and devoted attension given by his wife of 49 years, Helen, and his son lloyd.

TAG #133, December 2004

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1939 - Left school aged 14years with the Victorian Intermediate Certificate.
1942-1946 - Served in the Royal Australian Navy.
1947 -Matriculated, Adelaide, South Australia.
1948-1954 - University of Adelaide.  For three years of this period Rex was a part time student while working at S.A. Dept of Mines (AMDEL)
1954 - Awarded BSc (Geology and Physics) by the University of Adelaide.
1955-1958 - Mineralogist, Rhoanglo Mine Services Ltd., Kitwe Northern Rhodesia - This Company provided laboratory services/investigations for Anglo American mining operations on the Copperbelt.
1959-1970 - Experimental Officer, C.S.I.R.O. Division of Soils, Adelaide

  • During this period, carried out studies towards an MSc at the University of Adelaide.  Thesis – “Soils of the Barossa Valley”.  Received MSc 1961
  • Colombo Plan - Rex undertook two residential assignments with the Malaysia Geological Survey in Ipoh Malaysia.
  • 1966- 1969 CSIRO Studentship to Dept Mineralogy and Petrology, University of Cambridge – Thesis “Quantitave Electron Microprobe Analysis of Rock Forming Minerals”
  • 1969 Awarded PhD at the University of Cambridge.

1970-1974- Managing Director, Supervise Sheen Laboratories in Perth and Sydney.
1974-1977 - Consultant, General Superintendent Co./ Sucofindo Indonesia, which involved working in both Indonesia and Singapore.
1978-1985 - Established Rex Sweatman Consultants Pte. Ltd. Singapore and provided consultancy services to mining and exploration companies in Malaysia, Thailand, Burma and Indonesia.
1985-1996 - Returned to reside in Australia and whilst continuing to operate as Rex Sweatman Consultants Pte. Ltd. Singapore, provided consultancy services throughout Asia and in particular Pakistan, for AusAID.


Graham M Taylor
I recall Dad driving me and my uncle Griffith Taylor all around Sydney to look at Griff’s old haunts.  At Mt Victoria overlooking Hartley Vale or at Bulli looking down the coast, or at Mittagong and Mt Gibraltar and lots of other places where Griff incessantly described how the rocks and landscapes came to be how they are.  He was inspirational.  So it was I studied geology at Knox Grammar in Sydney, again with another inspirational teacher, Geoff Sykes.  During my Leaving year Geoff had a heart attack and Brenda (now) Franklin came to help us prepare for the leaving.  Is it any wonder I went to UNSW to study geology?  Eventually graduating with Honours and then an MSc.  I spent time working at Broad Sound, Jervis Bay, the RAN, and with Scripps in the SW Pacific during that time, and marine geology was to be for me. 
My time with Scripps was 1966, Bill Menard was cruise leader and George Shaw was the Chief geophysicist.  Amongst other things we were looking for continental crust between eastern Australia and Fiji.  This was amazing for me coming from a Uni where continental drift was a concept not spoken of.  We showed the Lord Howe and Norfolk ridges to be slivers of Australia.  I was no longer an innocent abroad, at least as far as drifting was concerned.  But I had been called up to potentially go to Vietnam, so what to do?  Simple: more study and hope the war finished.
Off to a demonstratorship at ANU then to teach sedimentology and do my PhD with Keith Crook, another inspiring teacher.  Marine geology was impractical from ANU in those days so I moved on to fluvial sedimentology, but as chance would have it my field area abutted the Cretaceous ridge country on northern NSW and it was here my interest in silcrete began.  I started reading on silcrete and found many statements in the literature that were dubious to say the least.  So the Monaro was included in my now broader surficial geology interest, eventually consuming my geological work.
I changed jobs to CCAE (now UC) and lectured in soils and sedimentology.  Eventually regolith became so consuming that, with another, Tony Eggleton at ANU, we formed the Centre for Australian Regolith Studies, which eventually morphed into the Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Evolution and Mineral Exploration.  CRCs were a novel and forward looking government policy that required inspired leadership, something not easily found.  CRC LEME lasted for two terms of seven years, though I was deemed surplus and promptly deprived of a role.  I recall two outcomes of being in CRC LEME as worthwhile, developing a satisfying education program for both incarnations of the Centre and completing a book on regolith geology and geomorphology with Tony Eggleton.  My demise in CRC LEME led to my early retirement and the demise of another geology school in Australia; sad, but with government’s determination to cater for subjects in demand by students, inevitable.
Devotion to regolith study has persisted in retirement and no doubt will until I can no longer do field work.  I miss having students to inspire, but other interests seem to keep my busy.  Geology has given me a career of hard work, fun and the joy of discovering new things as well as lots of travel.  What more could a bloke ask for except an understanding family, which I have been lucky enough to have had all my life, my parents initially, then my wife and children.

George Anthony THOMAS

1921 - 2000

George Anthony Thomas passed away on the 13th November, 2000 having successfully undergone surgery a few days previously. He had great respect for and knowledge of the natural world and specialised his career on palaeontology and field geology. The publications of the Geologocal Society of Australia (particularly Alcheringa and the AAP Memoirs) were an important part of his library and were read with great interest.

George was born in Northcote (Melbourne) in 1921. He was the eldest of six children (sisters Shirley, Valda and Patricia, brothers Kenneth and Warren) born to his father, George, and his mother, Dorothy (nee McMahon). The family lived in Clifton Hill. George's interest in nature, in particular geology, began with his childhood rambles, complete with dogs in tow, up and down the banks of the Merri Creek. He was quick to notice the massive layers of (Quaterary) basalt overlying the obviously different older (Silurian) rocks beneath.

He attended St. John's Primary School, Clifton Hill and St. Thomas's Christian Brothers Secondary School, before achieving a place at St. Kevin's College in Toorak to undertake his Leaving Certificate. However, the aftermath of the Great Depression was still widely flet throughout the community and George, well aware of the scarcity of the necessities of life and his parents' position, left school to work as a copyboy for the Herald newspaper. Neverthless, George never gave up his love of reading, learning and science and he enrolled part time at the Austral College in Collins Street (Melbourne) in order to complete his Matriculation Certificate. He was later to take up a junior position at the National Museum of Victoria.

In 1940, george gained a place at the University of Melbourne where he commenced a science degree with major studies in Geology and Zoology. On the 16th June 1945, during the King's Birthday weekend, he married a fellow geology student, Nancy Mary Fenwick-Barbour, at St. Patrick's Cathedral, East Melbourne (then Nancy's Parish Church).

This was the time of the Second World War and, as a student, George was a corporal in the the Melbourne University Rifles. His father, a veteran of the First World War's Western Front, advised George that an officer's life was preferable. The National Museum of Victoria had a use for George until he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force as Pilot Officer George Thomas. With his background in Geology, he was drawn into the new area of Operational Research on such tasks as air photo interpretation. He then took part in the Allied invasion of the island of Borneo.

After the War, new opportunities in Geology resulted in George joining the Commonwealth Bureau of Mineral Resources (BMR), Geology and Geophysics in 1948. George, Nancy and new daughter Marianne moved to Canberra in 1949 and son Paul was born in 1951.

On joining the BMR, George commenced field work in the Carnarvon Basin, Western Australia under the leadership of Curt Teichert for 'a couple of weeks'. The couple of weeks became 5 months! Communications were limited in such a remote region and so it was that George and half the Western Australian outback heard about Marianne's first tooth - courtesy of the Royal Flying Doctor's radio network.

George further developed his interests in palaeontology during the BMR field seasons of the late 1940s and 1950s in the Carnarvon, Canning and Bonaparte Basins of Western Australia. In particular, fossil brachiopods from the Devonian to Permian were to capture his imagination. He enrolled for a PhD at the University of Melbourne and spent time at the University in the mid 1950s, graduating in 1961. He joined the staff of the Department of Geology at the University of Melbourne in 1960 and was a Senior Lecturer in that department until his retirement.

In 1960 George, Nancy and family returned from Canberra to live in North Melbourne and then Ivanhoe. The family continued to grow with the arrival of Peter and then Michael and Andrew.

George's geological work, covering such areas as fieldwork and mapping, stratigraphy and palaeontology, is preserved in a range of monographs, reports and articles. It is characterised by meticulous detail and significant discoveries. Amongst the latter were the discovery and proving on palaeontological grounds of the existence of an Early Carboniferous succession in the Canning Basin (Thomas 1955, 1957a) and the palaeontological proof of a Late Permian Tatarian (or Wuchiapingian in current terms) succession in both the Canning and Bonaparte Basins (Thomas 1954, 1957b; Thomas & Dickins 1954). These and other significant discoveries, have had major impacts on Late Palaeozoic Gondwanan and global correlations. George himself, with characteristic modesty, never trumpeted his achievements.

His palaeontological work was of the highest quality and demonstrated a rigorous respect for the literature and the importance of meticulous systematics, both aspects of science that he endeavoured, with infinite patience, to pass on to his students. He was well aware of the importance of systematic studies before the publishing of biostratigraphical schemes which would have little lasting value without the supporting descriptive analyses. His two systematic monographs (Thomas 1958, 1971) are lasting monuments to the quality of his work.

George was an active member of the Geological Society of Australia and holds the record for being the longest serving secretary of the Victorian Division of the Society (1963-66, 1968-69 inclusive). The break in 1967 was necessitated by his travel to the USA as a Senior Fulbright Scholar,

George, often with his family, travelled widely to Europe (including the then USSR), India, Asia and the Americas. These travels extended his range of geological friends but were also opportunities to extend his wide cultural and historical interests. George's broad interests, and knowledge, were vast as testified by a glance at the library in the family home at Ivanhoe. Lengthy discussions would range through philosophy, religion, and fine art, to subtleties of American Civil War History. However, above all, he was a family man and a true gentleman. His tolerance, patience and broad philosophy of life made him a great teacher, individual and friend. His was a life to celebrate and he shall be greatly missed by Nancy, his family and all who knew him.

Thomas, G.A., 1954. Preliminary report on Permian brachiopod faunas of the Fitzroy Basin. BMR, Geol. Geophys., Record 1954/9.
Thomas, G.A., 1955. Probable lower Carboniferous deposits in the Fitzroy Basin, Western Australia. BMR, Geol. Geophys., Record 1955/37.
Thomas, G.A., 1957a. Lower Carboniferous Deposits in the Fitzroy Basin, Western Australia. Aust. Jl. Sci. 19(4): 160-161.
Thomas, G.A., 1957b. Oldhaminid brachiopods in the Permian of Northern Australia. J. Pal. Soc. India 2: 174-182.
Thomas, G.A., 1958. The Permian Orthotetacea of Western Australia. BMR, Geol. Geophys., Bulletin 39: 1-159, 22pls.
Thomas, G.A., 1971. Carboniferous and Early Permian brachiopods from Western and Northern Australia. BMR, Geol. Geophys. Bulletin 56: -277, 31pls.
Thomas, G.A. & Dickins, J.M., 1954. Correlation and age of marine Permian Formations in Western Australia. Aust. Jl. Sci. 16(6): 219-223.

NEIL W. ARCHBOLD, School of Ecology and Environment, Deakin University
TAG #119, June 2001

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David John THOMSON

Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

I specialised in Engineering Geology and after a number of positions in Federal, State and Local government, I joined the NSW Water Resources Commission in 1961 to form an Engineering Geology Section. I remained in this position until I retired in 1990.

The work was the geological studies of dam sites from the initial investigation to the design and construction stages. A total of twelve large dams were constructed in this period, together with remedial work on an additional three dams, these being Burrinjuck, Hume and Warragamba.

Papers on Wyangala and Copeton and dams were published by the Institution of Engineers. The two papers on Wyangala dealt with site investigation techniques and rock mechanics studies. The paper on Copeton dealt with the effect of high surface earth stresses on a civil engineering structure and was the first recording of such an event.

I served on the Committee for Coordination of Geological Services in NSW and also on a number of committees of the Australian Standards Association.

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Doug Traves first studied geology at the Brisbane Grammar School then at the University of Queensland, gaining a Science degree majoring in geology and chemistry in 1946. In January 1947 he joined the Bureau of Mineral Resources in Canberra, and by April was in the Northern Territory attached to the Land Research and Regional Survey CSIRO, mapping the regional geology of the Barkly region, an area of over 120 thousand square miles, during the field seasons of 1947 and 1948 (Land Research Series number 3 CSIRO). This was followed by the Ord-Victoria Region, an area of over 70 thousand square miles, 1949 and 1952 (BMR Bulletin 27) and 1950 Townsville Bowen region (BMR Rec. 1951/52).

In 1951, John Ivanac and Doug from BMR and Don King from South Australian Mines Department were seconded to the Pakistan Government, under the Colombo Plan, to assess the mineral potential of an area north of the Himalayas - basically from the Indian Kashmir border west to the Afghan border (Rec. of Geology Survey of Pakistan Vol. VIII part 2 1956). In 1954 with John Casey and Alan Wells, he led the first BMR party into the Canning Desert, an area of over 34 thousand square miles. (BMR Report 29). After this survey he joined Mines Administration Pty Ltd., the technical and administration company for "The Associated Group" and was with them until "The Associated Group" was taken over by CSR in 1978 when many of the senior personnel resigned and he retired as Managing Director.

The Associated Group pioneered commercial gas discoveries at Roma, commercial use of natural gas at the Power Station and Hospital at Roma, gas pipeline from Roma to Brisbane, use of natural gas in Brisbane and made significant discoveries of coal in Queensland including Hail Creek, Yarabee and others. They also operated a small oil field in Indonesia and they trucked crude to the Moonie oil pipeline from Roma. They examined numerous gold, uranium and nickel prospects throughout Australia and introduced a number of companies from USA, Canada, Japan and France to joint venture exploration and pipeline construction.

From 1978 for the next five years he did consulting work for ESSO, B.P., Hudbay, Bundaberg Sugar, and others as well as a Director of Target Petroleum and Apex Oil and a member of the Board of Trustees, Queensland Museum. He was President of Queensland Chamber of Mines 1979-80; Foundation Member and Past President, Geological Society Queensland Division; Foundation Member and Past President, Qupex; Member and Past President, P.E.S.A. Queensland Branch; Fellow of Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy; Member of American Association of Petroleum Geologists; Senior Fellow of Society of Economic Geologists and Member of Institute of Directors. He was awarded an O.B.E in 1974 New Year Honours List "For notable contribution to the development of the State's oil, gas, and coal resources." He was awarded the Lewis G. Weeks Gold Medal 1983 for "Distinguished achievements in and contributions to petroleum exploration in Australia. In 1992 he was awarded the Queensland Museum medal.

He was the author of numerous scientific publications and was selected to present papers to World Geological Congress 1956; World Petroleum Congress 1971; A.P.E.A. Conferences 1961, 1962; A.I.M.M. Conference 1962; Eighth Commonwealth Mining and Metallurgy Congress 1965; Economic Commission, Asia and Far East 1965. Co-editor of the 1975 A.I.M.M. Coal Volume. 

Doug was keen on sport and played in the First's for Rugby, Cricket and Tennis at Grammar and was awarded a Queensland University Hockey Blue and captained the Combined Australian Universities team in 1946.

His profession as a geologist first allowed him to visit much of Australia and later much of the world with numerous
travels to USA, Canada, Japan and Europe.

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Elizabeth TRUSWELL

DR ELIZABETH TRUSWELL (formerly KEMP) was born in Kalgoorlie, WA. She has spent much of her working life as a geoscientist, with an Honours degree in Geology from the University of Western Australia (1962) and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University in the U.K (1966).  In 1971 – 72 she was a post-doctoral fellow at Florida State University, where she began an association with the international Ocean Drilling Program, leading to a long involvement with Antarctic geoscience. From 1973 – 1996 she worked as a palaeontologist and environmental geoscientist with Geoscience Australia, and its predecessor organizations, holding the position of a Chief Research Scientist from 1992 - 96.
She has published more than 90 papers in the scientific literature, dealing with geological timescales, the reconstruction of past vegetation  and  environments in Australia and Antarctica, and other topics relating to the evolution of the Australian flora.
Her research was acknowledged with her election as a Fellow of the   Australian Academy of Science in 1985. 
Interest in Antarctic research led to positions on the management board of the Antarctic Co-operative Research Centre (1990 – 97), and on the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee  (1992 – 98).  She also served as Deputy Chair of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, and on the management board of the Coastal CRC.  She is a long-standing member of the Australian Committee for UNESCO’s International Geoscience Program (IGCP) and served as a member of the Paris-based Board of that organization.
In response to a long-held interest in drawing and painting, in 1997 she commenced a degree in Visual Arts at the Australian National University, graduating with Honours in painting in 2000. Her interests in the field of art history include the art of the early voyages of discovery to Antarctica, and the interrelationships between art and science. She now works as a Visiting Fellow in the Research School of Earth Sciences at ANU, dividing her time between ongoing scientific research, Antarctic history, and making art. 
Her artworks are mostly informed by her science, and are held in a number of collections in Australia and Europe, including, in Canberra, at the ANU and at Geoscience Australia.  Her first solo exhibition, ‘Drawing on the Past’, was held at the ANCA Gallery in Canberra in February 2005; others have followed at the CSIRO Discovery Centre (2007); the Goldfields Regional Gallery, Kalgoorlie (2008); and the ANU School of Art Gallery (2011). 
Recent interests have leant towards the interaction between the arts and science, and the history of scientific  exploration, particularly that of Antarctica. She has regularly given public presentations relating to these topics.



I grew up in Adelaide and Canberra where I came into contact with some of Australia’s most accomplished Earth Scientists. I undertook my undergraduate degree, honours and PhD at the University of Adelaide where John Foden and Mike Sandiford were strong mentors. In 1992 I went to the Open University in the UK to work with Simon Kelley and Chris Hawkesworth and in 1995 I was awarded a 10 year fellowship from the Royal Society. This involved a long-term and highly influential collaboration with Chris Hawkesworth both at the Open University and subsequently at the University of Bristol. In 2003 I returned to Australia as a Federation Fellow which I took up at Macquarie University.

My research involves the analysis of elemental concentrations and isotope ratios in silicate rocks and minerals to investigate the origin and evolution of magmatic (and other) rocks. I have applied this approach to a diverse range of topics leading to strong citations in 5 distinct areas. These include orogenic and post-orogenic granite petrogenesis, continental flood basalts, potassic lavas associated with high plateau formation, mid-ocean ridge basalts, ocean island basalts and island arc lavas. For the last 15 years, I have concentrated on the application of short-lived, U-series isotopes to constraining the time scales of magma formation, transport and differentiation. The common theme running through all of this research concerns understanding the evolution of magma source regions that have had complex histories


Vale John de Laeter

1937 – 2010

Emeritus Professor John de Laeter died of cancer on 16 August, 2010, aged 77. Although his scientific training was in physics, John made an immeasurable contribution to teaching and research in geoscience bothinWestern Australia and at national and international levels. John completed his BSc in physics at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and subsequently taught at Bunbury High School for three years. He
returned to UWA for a PhD in mass spectrometry, followed by post-doctoral appointments in North America. He came back to Perth in 1968 and taught first at Perth Technical College, and then for over 45 years at the Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) and its successor, Curtin University.

On taking up his position as head of physics at WAIT, John had a mass spectrometer installed in his department, and this caught the attention of Alec Trendall, then Deputy Director of the Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA). Alec saw the potential for a cooperative geochronology program that
would be immensely helpful to the State-wide 1:250 000 mapping program that was then the bread-and-butter work of the Survey. A simple strategy was agreed upon: project plans to be fully discussed in advance; GSWA to be responsible for sample collection and physical processing, including mineral
separation where needed; WAIT to do the wet chemical processing and mass spectrometry; and interpretation and publication to be joint responsibilities. That shared vision, initially involving three small pilot studies based on Rb–Sr analysis, led to an ongoing program that has gone from strength to strength
ever since.

John himself was always keen to see the rocks on the ground, and to discuss the possible geological implications of the results around the evening campfire. The early success of the Rb–Sr work led to a willingness to extend the methods used to other isotopic systems as geochronological techniques
evolved, first to Sm–Nd and then to zircon U–Pb, initially multi-grain and finally SHRIMP single-crystal analyses. John’s co-authorship of many of the program’s early papers represents a major contribution to the geology of Western Australia.

Despite his contribution to geoscience, John’s primary research interests were in applying mass spectrometry to cosmochemistry and nuclear physics. They included planetary science (a planet was named in his honour, but with his usual humility, John insisted it was only a small one) and measuring atomic weights (of 12 elements). He continued his collaborative research until the very end (with 16 journal publications from 2006–2010). His strong interest in meteoritics led to particularly fruitful collaborative work with the
WA Museum. He also had a distinguished career in university administration as head of science and engineering and Curtin University’s first Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Development. John served as Vice-Chancellor of Curtin in 1987 and 1988.

Regardless of his distinguished career in research and university administration, John considered himself as a teacher, first and foremost. He was a revered figure in secondary science education in WA, and an active
supporter up until his passing. He served as Deputy Chair of Earth Science Western Australia (ESWA) until June this year, having assisted in its establishment in 2003. ESWA benefited immeasurably from his customary blend of enthusiasm, wisdom, determination, humanity and extensive contacts. In parallel with his academic career, John was devoted to science education, research and technology at a broader scale. During the 1980s he chaired the State Committee of CSIRO which successfully fought for increased CSIRO representation in WA; he also chaired the Inaugural Science, Innovation and Technology Council. Both positions contributed to two key initiatives in which he played a leading role: SCITECH (Deputy Chair 1988–1996) and Technology Park (Chair 1988–1993). Subsequently he was the first West Australian appointed to the Board of CSIRO and over the last nine years of his life, together with David Blair of UWA, he led the establishment of the Gravity Discovery Centre (he was its Foundation Chair) and its exceptional facilities at Gingin. John’s indelible fingerprints grace large areas of the science education
and research map in WA.

In case this was not enough for one person, John had a lifelong passion for tennis and hockey, captaining both A-grade and State Veteran sides, and was considered an inspiring leader. He also played a key role in the establishment of the Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University. John’s legacy to science and education in WA is perpetuated in the John de Laeter Centre of Excellence for Mass Spectrometry. The Centre grew from
John’s efforts to coordinate a proposal from Curtin, UWA and GSWA to commission a SHRIMP II ion microprobe at Curtin in 1994. This facility was so successful that a second SHRIMP II was commissioned in 2004. The Centre now hosts Ar–Ar, LA–ICP–MS and organic geochemistry facilities across both Curtin
and UWA. CSIRO joined the consortium by co-locating its K–Ar and (U–Th)/He facilities from North Ryde in 2000 and 2004, respectively.

Without his career-long commitment to mass spectrometry, coupled with his vision, drive, persistence, collaborative outlook, interest in geoscience and clear sightedness about applied research of strategic importance to the State, our present day understanding of the geology of WA, and its impact on the discovery and development of our mineral resources, would be significantly diminished. Geoscientists from academia, Government and industry all benefit from the legacies of John de Laeter. John’s exceptional personal achievements have been recognised by numerous honours (including Officer of the Order of Australia, the Clunies-Ross Science Award and honorary doctorates from Curtin and UWA). He was a man of exceptional integrity, energy and humility who was always generous in his
judgement of people and ready to support. John was also a devoted family man who lived his life in accord with his strong faith, and is survived by his wife Robin, their three children and numerous grandchildren.
We are deeply indebted to Emeritus Professor John de Laeter AO, FTSE, Cit WA.

This tribute was compiled from articles first published in the
Oct–Nov edition of the West Australian Geologist.


Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia

John Veevers is Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University. He has worked for 50 years on the geology of Australia, Gondwanaland, and Pangea, culminating in his editing Billion-year earth history of Australia and neighbours in Gondwanaland (2000), and the supplementary coloured ATLAS (2001), subsequent reviews of Gondwanaland, and papers in collaboration with colleagues in GEMOC on detrital zircons from Gondwanaland.

He worked at the Bureau of Mineral Resources for 20 years and is still working at Macquarie University after 40 years. He benefitted from the efforts of a spectacular set of mentors: A.A. Öpik, Alwyn Williams, Jerry van Andel, Gilbert Jones, Chris Powell, and Malcolm Walter.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of London and of the Geological Society of America, and has received from the Geological Society of Australia a Stillwell Award and a Carey Medal for Tectonics. He was awarded a Special Investigator Award by the Australian Research Council, in part for his collaboration with Malcolm Walter on the Neoproterozoic stratigraphy and tectonics of Australia.

Veevers Crater was named in honour of his extensive work in Western Australia.

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Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

Brian W. Vitnell retired Geologist and Singleton Shire Councillor, a founding member of the Geological Society of Australia having joined in 1952.

The only child of William John Henry Vitnell and Irene Helen Vitnell, he was born in Mosman, Sydney at the beginning of the great depression in 1928. He grew up at Chatswood, Sydney, his adolescence coinciding with World War II, being educated at Mowbray House School, Chatswood, Sydney Grammar School, and Sydney University, graduating Bachelor of Science in Geology in 1950.

He joined the Joint Coal Board as a geologist in 1952 under the benevolent training of Ken Mosher, Chief Geologist, working for a brief period at Ulan, north of Mudgee investigating the major Ulan Coal Seam in the vicinity, later to be worked by large open-cut and underground coal mines.

In 1952 he transferred to the Cessnock Office of the Board, and from there and later based at Ravensworth, spent the next 11 years investigating coal seams of the Upper Hunter, forecast by eminent geologist Sir Edgeworth David in the late nineteenth century, as the source of major energy potential. With the exception of a year overseas in 1963, Brian was to spend the remainder of a 35 year employment in the coal industry living in the Upper Hunter, principally in Singleton.

On his return for a year's overseas study tour at the National Coal Board in the UK, he was appointed the first geologist of Coal and allied Inustries Ltd., later progressing to Chief Geologist and Exploration Manager. During his employment he was responsible for investigation and advice on geology of the company's underground and later, open cut mines, and exploration areas in NSW and Queensland. During this time, his final contricutino was to the exploration and development of the Hunter Valley Mining Leases. Following his retirement from the industry and election to Singleton Shire Council for eight years during his final retirement in 1999, he was to be part of and observe the major growth of the coal industry and other developments which made the Upper Hunter a major contributor to the economy of NSW.

From youth to old age, Brian has been involved in the social and sporting life of the Upper Hunter and maintained a lively interest in Singleton affairs. He travelled widely in retirement, enjoying the rural and more remote areas he visited, especially in Scotland and Canada where he had many friends, but he did not neglect his own country, and its geology.

From 1952 into the new millennium he always regarded Singleton as his home where his roots were, and continues to participate in its continuing development.

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Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia

Friedrich Eugen von Gnielinski was born in Noble Park, Melbourne, Vic in 1959. He left Australia
in 1964 with his father Dr. Stefan von Gnielinski (also a geologist), who had just resigned from
the Victorian Country Roads Board to return to Germany. After a brief stint in West Berlin,
where Friedrich attended an American primary school, his father took up a lecturing position at
the University of Monrovia, Liberia and Friedrich went to an American primary school, and first
became enthusiastic about living and working in the bush.
In 1972 the family moved back to Germany and settled in Bavaria, where Friedrich completed
his secondary education at a state high school in the south-east of Munich in 1980. Two years of
military service in the Bavarian Alps in the Mountaineer Battalion, further increased the interest
of studying rocks and landscapes, always keen to traverse mountaintops and ranges in the Alps.
1982 Friedrich commenced undergraduate studies in archaeology, geology and ethnology at the
Ludwigs Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), which he completed in 1985. Friedrich did some
first year geology teaching (basic regional mapping skills including practical field work) for one
term at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Friedrich's first geological paper resulted
from collaboration with Dr. Thomas Schlüter: 1987, The East African Copal. Its geologic,
stratigraphic, palaeontologic significance and comparison with other fossil remains of similar
age. In: National Museum of Tanzania records.
Friedrich continued his graduate studies at LMU, including 2 years of field work in the Austrian
Alps, where he was involved with the regional and detailed mapping of parts of the Matrei 1:100
000 Sheet within the "Tauern Window" in the Austrian Alps. Results were incorporated in his
honours thesis in 1989. In 1988 Friedrich went to South Africa for 4 months to tour 40 mines
together with lecturers and fellow students from LMU. After graduating from LMU in 1989
(Diplom Rer. Nat.), Friedrich went back to Australia for holidays, with new wife Dorothea.
While on holidays Friedrich landed a temporary job with the Bureau of Mineral Resources in
Canberra, doing some literature research at the Geological Survey of Queensland in Brisbane.
After 6 months Friedrich joined the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ) as a regional
mapper. He was the GSQ member of a joint team with the Bureau of Mineral Resources in the
Cape York region studying the Proterozoic and early Palaeozoic rocks and metallogenesis (NGMA
North Queensland Project 1990 - 1996). Within this time Friedrich also completed MSc studies
at James Cook University, including a study of the Horn Island Gold Mine (1996: Regional
Geology, Exploration, Development and Failure of the Horn Island Gold Mine and its
Environmental Clean-up).
From 1996 to 2003 Friedrich worked on the South Connors Auburn Gogango Project in GSQ
looking at Palaoezoic igneous and volcanic terrains within the Connors and Auburn Arches. Since
2003 -2007 Friedrich was assigned the Bundaberg 1:250000 mapping Project. Currently
Friedrich is Project Leader of the Mount Rawden Corridor mapping project.
Friedrich joined the Geological Society of Australia in 1991 and joined the Queensland
Committee as Membership Secretary for GSAQ in 1996, a position which Friedrich is holding to
date (2008). Friedrich has also held the position of Honorary Treasurer of the Queensland
Division since 2001. Friedrich has also maintained the GSAQ video and DVD library since 1998,
which contains most seminar talks presented from 1995 to present, available for all GSA
members on request.
Friedrich has also freely given his time to help with events such as Science Week and Earth
Science Week over the last couple of years. He has assisted and supported Warwick Willmott to
varying degrees with the recently published GSAQ booklets "Rocks and Landscapes of the
National Parks of Southern Queensland and Rocks and Landscapes of the National Parks of
Central Queensland, Rocks and Landscapes of Brisbane & Ipswich (2nd Ed) and the Rocks and
Landscapes of the Sunshine Coast.

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The modern geological community is often quick to dismiss the relevance of palaeontological studies, but the diverse and productive career of Dr Mary Wade is an excellent example of their grievous error. Mary Wade worked on forams, dinosaurs, ichthyosaurs, mammals, cnidarians, molluscs, trace fossils, pliosaurs, Ediacaran biota, stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, functional morphology and material conservation. Her eclectic palaeontological career was an amazing feat considering her humble rural beginnings.

Mary Wade was born in Adelaide, but spent her early years on a remote rural property in NE South Australia. At age seven, her family moved to Thistle Island, where she was educated by correspondence. Her early years spawned a passion for natural history, which was to continue throughout her life. At thirteen she was awarded a scholarship to the Wilderness School in Menindee and completed her schooling
there. In 1947 she commenced study at the University of Adelaide, completing an undergraduate degree in Geology in 1951, and Honours in 1953.

Seeing her potential and obvious intellectual rigour, she was employed as a Senior Demonstrator. For the next six years she conducted research on Tertiary forams with Professor Martin Glaessner, and after completing her PhD in 1958, commenced work on the Ediacaran faunas. To this work she applied a rigorous anatomical approach to palaeontology, engendered by the tutelage of Glaessner, which produced some of the most comprehensive understandings of the Ediacaran biota. This work was seminal, and was one of the major achievements of her career.

Mary's career was restricted by her gender, and in 1971, at the suggestion of Dorothy Hill, she took up the position of Curator of Geology at the Queensland Museum. During the next few years she explored parts of the Georgina Basin for Cambro-Ordovician nautiloids. Her work in the Georgina Basin led her to collect over five thousand specimens of nautiloids, including those upon which the Georginiidae was
erected. Her work on nautiloids brought her in communication with Curt Teichert and Rousseau Flower, who appreciated
her detailed work and kept in regular correspondence until late in their own lives.

During the early 1970s Mary also visited many western Queensland properties, establishing close links and rapport with landholders in the region and collecting specimens of the Cretaceous sauropod Austrosaurus. From this relationship with locals came many of the major dinosaur and marine reptile discoveries in the region over the next twenty-five years.

Her affinity with the outback was to increase through her critical role in the excavation of the Lark Quarry Dinosaur trackways in western Queensland in 1976-77. This work, conducted with Dr Tony Thulborn, was to result in the benchmark studies of dinosaur tracks. The site remains the best set of dinosaur footprints on the globe and is a major tourist destination, now listed on the National Heritage Register.

Through the late 1970s Mary continued to collect dinosaur and other large vertebrate remains from western Queensland. She relocated the site of Rhoetosaurus, lost since the 1920s, collecting additional parts of this best known member of Australia's meagre Jurassic dinosaur fauna. She began work on ichthyosaurs through the late 1970s and produced comprehensive descriptive works on the detailed anatomy of Platypterigius.

In the 1980s she continued to recover specimens of Kronosaurus, and collected the second only skull of Muttaburrasaurus. In 1990 she excavated the Richmond pliosaur, the most complete polycotylid specimen known, and this combined with the co-discovery of a near-complete Minmi skeleton. These discoveries were the catalyst for the development of a marine fossil Museum in Richmond, now known as Kronosaurus Korner.

In 1992 she turned her attention to problematic large molluscs from the Cretaceous of Queensland, collecting and describing inter alia, large teuthid squids.

She retired from the Queensland Museum in 1993, and moved to Richmond to be with the communities and fossils she loved, helping foster developments in the Dinosaur Triangle. Later in 2001 she moved to Hughenden to assist that community with its Visitor Centre. In 1994 Mary was awarded the Queensland Museum medal for contributions to the community and her varied scientific achievements. Her scientific legacy is wide and varied and shows an academic rigour oft lacking in the modern literature. She also ensured that her work within the Artesian basin was translated into tangible benefits for the communities. Her work in no small way has led to the establishment of the Outback Dinosaur Trail and the continued discovery and development of dinosaur and related sites in Queensland. These ventures are having an increasing role in the outback economy. She knew how to use her science for the wider community and demonstrated that academic rigour does result in long-lasting benefits for the community and the culture of the nation.

To those who knew and worked with Mary, she will be remembered for her warmth and endless encouragement. Stories of her field exploits and driving abilities are legendary. Her love of children and animals was boundless. A prolific letter writer, her papers record endless academic friendly tussles with her peers, amongst whom she was regarded with the utmost respect.

She was not married, and is survived by her elder brother, Bill, who now lives on the central coast of New South Wales. Mary's grave is in Charters Towers and will be marked with a brass rendering of the Ediacaran biota in the near future.

ALEX COOK, Queensland Museum
TAG #137, November 2005

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Kenneth Ridley WALKER

Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia

Dr K.R. Walker's career was dominated by the demands of geological survey work in the Bureau of Mineral Resources (BMR), and by his interest in petrology and geochemistry, particularly in regard to the basic igneous rocks.

His career had a humble beginning. Unable to afford university fees training as an engineer, he took a Laboratory Assistants job in the newly formed Department of Geology in the University of Tasmania. Under the guidance of Professor S.W. Carey and Dr M.R. Banks he launched a career in geology. In the latter half of his part time degree course he was awarded, in 1950, a Cadetship in the BMR, enabling him to complete an Honours degree (1952) prior to his appointment as a geologist in 1953. A long field season that year on the regional geological mapping of the Lower Proterozoic rocks of N.W. Queensland formed the basis for one of his major contributions to Australian Geology.

At the University of Tasmania he participated in the inaugural meeting that formed the Tasmanian division of GSA in 1952, and he has been a GSA member ever since. He became a Retired Member on retiring from the BMR (now known as Geoscience Australia) in 1988, and later was elected a Fellow. The Society not only serves the needs of the geological profession, it also has an important role with society, in general, keeping it informed on how an understanding of the earth sciences is beneficial to peoples' quality of life.

Dr Walker valued the opportunity to serve as Treasurer and Council member 1971-73, Public Officer from 1982-92, and at times on ACT Divisional Committees. In his career he was also a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a Member of the A.I.M.M. and of the Association of Exploration Geochemists.

In 1954 he was given the opportunity to undertake the petrological and geochemical research for the N.W. Queensland project under Dr G.A. Joplin in the newly established Department of Geophysics at ANU. His PhD thesis was titled, 'A study of the basic igneous rocks of the Lower Proterozoic of N.W. Queensland with special reference to their metamorphism and metasomatism in relation to the geological sequence of events'. He was awarded a PhD in 1960, an ANU post-doctoral Travelling Scholarship and a Fulbright Grant, This enabled him to spend 1960-61 as a Visiting Research Fellow in the Geology Department, Columbia University, New York, and spend some time at Lamont and Yale. His research there involved a petrological and geochemical re-investigation of the Palisades Sill, New Jersey (GS America Memoir 115, Special Paper 111, and Bulletin Vol 84 No 1). He continues his Fulbright association as a Member of the Fulbright Alumni in Australia (AFA).

His career in the BMR from 1950 to1988 covered regional geological mapping, laboratory research, and in 1980 culminated in his appointment to Assistant Chief Geologist as Head of the Metalliferous Section. The Section covered the hard rock and laboratories sides of BMR's regional mapping surveys. In the period 1962–67 he developed the direct reading optical spectrograph for lithogeochemical studies, the first application of this procedure in Australia. He led the laboratory team from 1968 to 1974, during its major expansion to upgrade the petrological, geochemical and geochronological research and services in the Metalliferous Section. During 1974 to 1980 he supervised the regional geological mapping program of the Section, particularly in their Queensland work.

He participated in international earth science symposia in 1960, 1970, 1976 and 1980 while on visits to overseas surveys and companies to study recent developments in research and management of laboratories. He was a member of the first Australian Geological Delegation to visit the Peoples Republic of China in 1979, after Australia re-established diplomatic relations with China (BMR Report 1980).

To him the most stimulating and inspiring time of his career was contributing to geological knowledge from his studies of the Jurassic tholeiites of the Palisade Sill, and from studies of the basic rocks of N.W. Queensland which led to a better understanding of the geological sequence of events there (BMR Bulletin 51). In addition the geochemical investigation of primary element dispersions surrounding the Mt Isa mine indicated that the copper was sourced from the basic igneous rocks, and metasomatically concentrated and emplaced after the lead zinc mineralisation (BMR Bulletin 131).

The publication of results of his studies comprise 10 research papers in scientific journals, 2 BMR Bulletins, and 3 scientific review reports. The publications reporting the Palisades Sill studies find reference in text books such as 'Igneous Petrology' by I.S.E. Carmichael, F.J. Turner, J. Verhoogen, 1974.

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Colin R. WARD

Colin R. Ward

Colin Ward graduated with a University Medal in Applied Geology from the University of New South Wales in 1967, and obtained his PhD from the same university in 1971. His undergraduate studies were supported by a scholarship from the Joint Coal Board, and included vacation work on different aspects of coal exploration and mine geology.  Although his Honours thesis involved mapping the Proterozoic and Devonian strata at Fowlers Gap, north of Broken Hill, and his PhD was on fluvial sedimentology of the Triassic sequence in the southern Sydney Basin, the scholarship and vacation work provided the springboard for much of his subsequent academic career.

After completing his PhD, Colin joined the academic staff of the New South Wales Institute of Technology (now the University of Technology, Sydney), with responsibility for setting up a teaching program in sedimentary geology and related fields.  This included an undergraduate program in coal geology, which was extended in 1977 to become an external short course for graduates working in the coal industry. The graduate-level course has evolved over the years, and Colin still provides programs in different aspects of coal geology for companies and other organisations throughout the world.  In collaboration with other industry and academic colleagues, he also developed an internationally-recognised textbook, Coal Geology and Coal Technology, which was published by Blackwells in 1984 and still remains a useful reference at the national and international level.

Drawing on knowledge of clay mineralogy inherited from his PhD supervisor, Fred Loughnan, Colin also began research programs to investigate the mineral matter in coal. These were further developed while on study leave at the Illinois State Geological Survey in 1975. He also spent six months with the Sydney-based consultant group of McElroy Bryan and Associates in 1979, working on a range of coal resource evaluations, followed by a second period of study leave at the University of Kentucky in 1980, supported by a Fulbright Travel Award.

Colin returned to the University of New South Wales in 1984, taking up a position vacated by Fred Loughnan’s retirement.  This allowed a greater focus on research activities, including more in-depth work on mineral matter in coal, investigation of methane ignition by rock friction in underground coal mines, and regional studies on different aspects of the Sydney, Gunnedah and Bowen Basins. In conjunction with colleagues from other institutions, he was also involved in compiling a Photographic Guide to Cored Rocks of the Sydney Basin (University of Sydney, 1986), Geology of Australian Coal Basins (GSA Coal Geology Group, 1995) and Geology in Longwall Mining (Coalfield Geology Council of NSW, 1996).

Following promotion to Associate Professor, Colin became Head of the Department of Applied Geology at UNSW in 1993.  He served in that role during a tumultuous period of change at the University until the end of 2001, when geology merged with other disciplines to form the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. 

Colin’s research program was strengthened by study leave in 1998 at CSIRO and the University of Sheffield, with a focus on developing X-ray diffraction as a quantitative tool for mineralogical evaluation.  He has published over 100 refereed papers on his various research projects, and a similar number of full-length papers at national and international conferences.  Colin has served as a member of the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Coal Geology since 1990, and in 2012 was Guest Editor for a Special Issue of that journal on Minerals and Trace Elements in Coal. He has also served as Project Leader in the CRC for Coal in Sustainable Development, working on coal ash characterisation, and as a technical member of the NSW Coal Compensation Review Tribunal.

In the course of his academic career Colin has introduced numerous undergraduate and graduate-level students to different aspects of geology, especially coal geology, both in Australia and overseas. He has also successfully supervised more than 17 postgraduate research student projects, leading to MSc and PhD degrees.

Colin retired as Professor of Geology at UNSW in July 2006, but continues as a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University and as a Visiting Scientist with CSIRO Energy Technology.  In 2010 he was presented with the Gilbert H. Cady Award for Coal Research by the Geological Society of America, becoming the first Australian coal geologist to be recognised in this way.  He has also received the Award for Excellence in Coal Geology from the Coalfield Geology Council of NSW (1998), and the Ralph J. Gray Award for the best refereed paper in organic petrology from the Society for Organic Petrology (2011).  Other honours include presentation of the Kenneth Mosher Memorial Lecture in 2000 and the J.J. Frankel Memorial Lecture in 2007.

Colin served as Chairman of GSA’s Coal Geology Group in the early years of its formation (1979-81), and has also as Secretary of the New South Wales Division (1983-84).  In addition he has served as Chairman of the Coalfield Geology Council of NSW (1985-87), as Councillor for the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (1991-2000), and as President of The Society for Organic Petrology (2004-2005).  He is a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, and the Geological Society of America.  In 2012 he was presented with the John Castaño Honorary Member Award from the Society for Organic Petrology, recognising his exemplary commitment to education, excellence in research and service to that Society, as well as to the wider geological community. 

Colin Ward's Geological career and profile

Bruce Phillip WEBB AM

1926 - 2000

Bruce Webb, one of Australia's best known and highly respected mining men, and a member of the Geological Society of Australia from 1960, passed away on Friday 10th March, 2000. He had a distinguished career in both private and public sectors and made valuable contributions in the fields of geology, business, tertiary education and government. Bruce was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1992 for services to the mining and energy industries.

After graduating from the University of Sydney in 1947, Bruce joined North Broken Hill Ltd as a field assistant. His work there was notable for the completion of one of the first geochemical surveys conducted in Australia. Further study at the University of Adelaide resulted in his being awarded a Master of Science degree.

From 1952 to 1962 Bruce worked as a geologist at the SA Department of Mines. Renewed attracteion by the private sector then found him as Chief Geologist for Geosurveys of Australia and subsequently as Exploration Manager for Newmont Pty Ltd.

Bruce responded in 1972 to an invitation to return to the SA Department of Mines, as Director General, a position he held until 1983. During this period he instigated developments of great importance to the State of South Australia. He played a major role in the opening up of the Cooper Basin oil and gas field, and his introduction of more workable licensing conditions encouraged Western Mining Corporation to undertake the exploration which led directly to the discovery of the giant Olympic Dam orebody.

Back again to the mining industry, Bruce continued to make an impact as a manager of energy and vision. He became Managing Director of Poseidon Ltd Group where he laid the groundwork for the company's eventual emergence as Normandy Mining, one of the world's largest gold minig companies. He then played a crucial role in the privatisation of the Australian Development Laboratories, a major provider of services to the industry.

Bruce made a further valuable contribution to mineral research by his involvement with the Australian Mineral Foundation (AMF). He was a Councillor of the AMF throughout the 1970s and the Director from 1988 to 1993. He continued his association with the AMF until 1999, providing assistance with the indexing of material, in the AMF library.

Bruce was active in many fields and education was no exception. He chaired the Board of Mangement of the South Australian Gartrell School of Mining, Metallurgy and Applied Geology from 1989 to 1994, during the School's integration into the University of SOuth AUstralia, and was Head of the School from 1991 to 1994. Bruce was awrded a Doctorate of the University of South Australia in 1998. In 1995, he was elected to the University of Adelaide Council and was appointed Chancellor in 1998.

Despite his succession of senior postings, he was a man who could "walk with kings nor lose the common touch". With a mind of his own he was yet considerate of other peoples' views and interests. He was kindly, remained a geologist to the core, and was a strong family man. To me, he was a genuine person and a friend.

TAG #115, June 2000

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Allan White

Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

11 January 1931–15 September 2009
Allan White was born near Adelaide on 11 January 1931. He grew up on a dairy farm in the Adelaide Hills and he retained a love of the countryside and the Australian bush throughout his life. He commenced his life as a geologist as a student at the University of Adelaide, where he received the Tate Memorial Medal in 1952. There he came under the influence of Sir Douglas Mawson and was a member of Mawson's last group of honours students. In the following year he worked as Mawson's field assistant. Both as a person and as a scientist, Allan was undoubtedly greatly influenced by his association with that great Australian. For his honours thesis, Allan carried out mapping north of Broken Hill. He then commenced a study of granites and associated rocks in the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges, which he continued for his PhD at the University of London. He married his lifelong partner Heather before leaving for England in 1954. They were to have three children, Derek and Jacqueline born in Dunedin, and Fiona in Canberra. Allan was appointed a Lecturer in the Department of Geology at the University of Otago in late 1956. During his three years in Dunedin, Allan taught petrology and geochemistry and metamorphic rocks from the South Island's west coast and, with DS Coombs, the early history of Dunedin Volcano. He was an early appointment, in June 1960, to the new Faculty of Science of the Australian National University. He remained in Canberra until his appointment to the Foundation Chair of Geology at La Trobe University in 1971, where he was Head of department for much of the next 17 years. After a period of retirement, he returned to Melbourne in 1996 as Director of the Victorian Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences (VIEPS) in 1996, a position that he left in March 1999. Allan's significant contributions both at La Trobe and VIEPS have been recognised by the establishment of the Allan White Medal, which is awarded each year to outstanding BSc honours graduates in Earth Science from the VIEPS universities. The first medal was awarded in December 1999.

Throughout his university career, Allan White was an exceptional and inspiring teacher who was dedicated to both the intellectual and personal welfare of his students, many of whom later occupied prominent positions in universities, government organisations and industry. Students who worked closely with Allan have always regarded that experience as a special privilege. Allan built up the Geology Department at La Trobe University from nothing, and in his own image. The department reflected his personal style and academic convictions. There was an informal manner, great enthusiasm, things got done and "pussy footing" was deplored. The research in the department was field-based, but used all of the modern techniques that it was possible to utilise. There was a focus on teaching, which took place in an intellectually stimulating environment. Allan had studied chemistry at the University of Adelaide for three years as part of a double major. He felt that he had benefited greatly from that experience and saw it as being important for the undergraduates in his department. Hence geology graduates from La Trobe in the early days were also qualified at third year level in another subject such as  mathematics or chemistry. It is a tragedy that in 2004 an inept administration at La Trobe closed what had developed into a rather special department. That it happened was of course a great disappointment to Allan.

Both at La Trobe and later at VIEPS, Allan showed unique talents as a leader and administrator. Stories that Allan told about Adelaide show that Sir Douglas Mawson took a very strong line with the university administration, where clerks would look up to see that physically impressive man bearing down to make a demand of them. For example, Sir Douglas once asked Allan if he had received payment of a scholarship and, on receiving a negative answer, stated: "We'll see about that!". Mawson then marched to the administration building and returned a few minutes later with the cheque! It was an approach that Allan sought with some success to emulate. At one time Allan was Chair of the safety committee at La Trobe which recommended the removal of a tree that was blocking views at a roundabout in the parking area. Nothing happened, so the Chair brought in a chainsaw and removed the tree himself. A fence that had been erected between the car park and the departmental building suffered a similar fate.

Allan White had a very distinguished research record and is an author on 100 publications. He always had wide interests in hardrock geology, and early in his career he published wide range of topics, including metamorphic rocks, structural geology, mineralogy, migmatites, granulite inclusions and the geochemistry of island arc volcanic rocks. Granites were always important and became increasingly so when he found that he could combine his love of field work with studies in the Kosciuszko and surrounding regions, mostly with students as he introduced them to looking at rocks in the field. In one sense Allan's research became more focused but he did examine granites in a remarkably diverse way, studying their field relationships, petrography, mineralogy and geochemistry, understanding the importance of isotopic studies that were then in their infancy, and with a detailed knowledge of the relevant experimental results.

Allan White was the supreme petrographer. This clearly developed from his early association with Mawson, who in particular was determined that Allan should be able to identify cordierite, which is sometimes difficult to recognise, in every possible type of occurrence. With his abilities as a field geologist, a great understanding of rocks, his skill with a petrographic microscope and knowledge of mineralogy, and a good appreciation of the relationships between the chemical and mineralogical compositions of rocks, nobody could have been better equipped than Allan when confronted with the problem of the widespread cordierite-bearing granites of south-eastern Australia. His work on these granites, which became known as the S-types, is a benchmark petrological study and the S-type granites will be his scientific epitaph. Such rocks provided the theme of the two-day symposium held at La Trobe University to mark Allan's 70th birthday in 2001. Cordierite is a common mineral in contact metamorphosed shales and in fragments of such shales embedded in igneous rocks as products of contamination. Allan recognised that the cordierite in the granites of the Snowy Mountains was not a product of contamination, but was intrinsic to these rocks, given their Al-oversaturated compositions. He inferred that these features were inherited from sedimentary or supracrustal source rocks. The presence of these rocks in the Snowy Mountains had been known for many years but there was no satisfactory explanation prior to Allan's work.

Allan had a strong interest in the relationship between granites and mineral deposits and a special interest in the role of water in the evolution of granite magmas, leading to the development of volatile phases and, sometimes, mineral deposits. His interests in mineral deposits were both broad and perceptive and he greatly enjoyed his associations with mineral exploration geologists and mining companies. After his retirement, Allan spent a considerable amount of time in private mineral exploration. He was a qualified gemmologist, with great skills in identifying minerals and gems. He was an active member of the Warrnambool Gem Club, of which he was awarded life membership in 2007.

Perhaps Allan White's greatest pleasure as a geologist was to stand in the field, talking about rocks, and hoping for some vigorous discussion, which was generally forthcoming. He participated in many international field excursions and led several in south-eastern Australia. One excursion included a group of Chinese geologists who were confused by our use of the term "white mica" for the mineral muscovite which of course is colourless and transparent. For the Chinese it was colourless mica. This evolved to Allan being referred to as Professor Colourless, at which time Wallace Pitcher, an associate from Allan's days as a PhD student in London exclaimed: "a less colourless person I have never met". This brilliant use of a triple negative summed up much of Allan's character. Allan was a very colourful person, larger than life, as Pitcher recognized.

Throughout his career, Allan White made enormous contributions to the Earth Sciences at all levels. In recognition of these, he was awarded the Stillwell and Browne Medals by the Geological Society of Australia in 1988 and 1994. In 1997 he was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Melbourne. In 2002 he was the recipient of the Mawson Lecture and Medal from the Australian Academy of Science – he received that honour on the 50th anniversary of his honours year with Sir Douglas, which greatly pleased him. In 2007 he was awarded the Geological Society of Japan Medal. Allan White was a very hard-working and dedicated man. He had great humour, was highly intelligent and thoughtful, open-hearted and generous, very strongly motivated, but modest and unassuming. He was someone who cared deeply about other people. After a very courageous battle with a brain tumour over almost three years, he passed away on 15 September 2009. He will be remembered as a wonderful person and a great scientist and will be sorely missed by his family and numerous friends.
TAG #153, December 2009

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Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

My choice of Geology as a career was by accident as it was selected as a "fill in" from a number of optional subjects as my 4th subject in my 1st year of a Bachelor of Science Degree, persuaded by a remark by a fellow also filling in his application form at the University of WA that Geology involved "camping"! As I was fond of the outdoors the empty space alongside Geology received a tick! I continued on with Geology in my 2nd and 3rd years mainly due to the strong influence of the teaching and enthusiasm of Professor Rex Prider. I also was able to graduate with Physics in my Final year as Geolgy was split into 2 Units, Geolgy IIIA ("Hard Rocks") and Geology IIIB ("Soft Rocks").

Although graduating in Geolgy and Physics I intended to become a Geologist. However I was unable to obtain a position as a Geologist in 1950, but was successful in obtaining a position as a Geophysicist in the Bureau of Mineral Resources in Melbourne.

Some memorable moments in chronological order, not importance, were:

1. In 1950 the discovery of uranium at Broken Hill during my first assignment as a Geophysicist with the Bureau of Mineral Resources;

2. In 1958 the discovery of the first graptolite in Queensland during a BMR regional mapping survey of the Georgetown region in North Queensland;

3. In 1963 the detailed mapping by plane table of a 2mile long zone of gold reefs at Union Reefs, Pine Creek, Northern Territory at a scale of 1 inch to 40 feet with John Shields (BMR Geologist);

4. In 1968-70 participation in the negotiations and drafting of the Offshore Petroleum Legislation used uniformly by all Australian States and Territories;

5. During 1970-85 the establishment and management of Samedan of Australia, a joint venture of USA oil companies to explore for minerals in Australia.

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Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia

Fellow fo the Geological Society of Australia

Roy Woodall was born in Perth in 1930, completing his high school education at night school at the Perth Technical College.

A Commonwealth scholarship allowed him to enrol at UWA, and after completing an Honours degree in Geology in 1953 he joined Western Mining Corporation (WMC). From 1955 to 1957 he studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and then returned to WMC.

He was Chief Geologist and Exploration Manager (1967-95) and a director of the Company from 1978 where he was responsible for their Australian and worldwide minerals and petroleum exploration. Since retiring he has maintained a small consultancy.

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Prof. Dr. Helmut (Heli) Wopfner

Honorary Correspondent Member of the Geological Society of Australia

I was born on the 26th of June, 1924 in Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol in western Austria. Growing up in the midst of mountains provided continued contacts with nature and early interests in rocks and minerals.

I received my primary and secondary education in my home town of Innsbruck. After finishing high school late in1941 I was called up for war service. I served in the German air force as a pilot until April 1945, when I was captured by British forces in northern Germany. I spent 11 months in various British POW-camps in Belgium until my release in March 1946.

After "demobilisation" by the French occupation forces in the Tyrol I matriculated at the University of Innsbruck to study geology, petrology and palaeontology. As a returned soldier I was allowed to pack the subjects of two terms into one, enabling me to commence field investigations for my Ph.D. thesis in 1948. The subject of my thesis was the investigation of a Late Cretaceous, synorogenic, clastic sequence, high up in the Lechtal Mountains in the north-west of Tyrol.

In 1950 I interrupted my Ph.D. studies to accept a scholarship of the Swedish Government to study one semester at the Geology Department of Stockholm University. After the end of the term I was invited to participate on a mapping and exploration campaign of the Swedish Geological Survey in the Caledonian fold belt of north-western Sweden.

1951, in order to improve my financial situation, I accepted the position as a research assistant at the newly created Snow and Avalanche Research Station in the Central Alps south-east of Innsbruck. During that time I continued work on my Ph.D. thesis and in June 1953 I graduated with a Ph.D. degree from the University of Innsbruck. In January 1955 I married Dr. Inge Wagner, a botanist engaged in erosion control research.

Together with my wife and our 9 months old son I left Europe in April 1956 to join Geosurveys of Australia Ltd on a four years contract. During the entire time of my contract I was engaged in oil exploration work on behalf of SANTOS Ltd., covering the companies licence areas in South Australia, Queensland, NW New South Wales and the Northern Territory. In 1956 I identified the first fold structures in the Oodnadatta region and this led to the drilling of the well SANTOS Oodnadatta Nr. 1, which became the reference section for the west-central Great Artesian Basin, now known as the Eromanga Basin.

In March 1957 I undertook an air and ground reconnaissance of north-eastern South Australia and western Queensland during which I discovered two belts of anticlines with limb dips of up to 20o, extending from Innamincka in South Australia to Warbreccan in Queensland. Subsequent mapping of these anticlines under my supervision proved that they were actual fold structures (as predicted by Lockhard Jack in 1932) and not just mere palaeo-morphological features as assumed by previous explorers. In the same year Dr. Brunnschweiler and I produced the first structural contour map of the entire SANTOS licence area in South Australia and Queensland. This involved 165 hours of low level flying in the single engine Sokol aircraft owned by SANTOS. The map was published in the AAPG Bulletin, vol. 42/10 by Sprigg in 1958. The discovery of the various anticlines aroused the interest of a number of oil exploration companies and ultimately led to the partnership between SANTOS and the American independent, Delhi Tailor Oil Corporation and the drilling of the first deep well, Delhi-Frome-Santos Innamincka Nr. 1. The well spudded in April 1959 and was completed in December of the same year. During the entire drilling operation of the well and the next test well, Delhi-Frome-Santos Betoota Nr. 1 in Queensland, I was SANTOS representative on both well sites.

After completion of my four years contract in May 1960 I resigned from Geosurveys of Australia Ltd. and joined the Geological Survey of South Australia. My first duty was to find a direct path from Goyder Lagoon to Oodnadatta via the southern Simpson Desert and the Kallakoopah salt marshes. A fortnight after the successful first trip I guided the Premier of South Australia, Sir Thomas Playford and nine other participants, including the Director of Mines and the Managing Director of Delhi Australia, from Birdsville to Oodnadatta, thus proving the feasibility for seismic surveys in that region. The next project, carried out in cooperation with two geologists from Delhi, was a comprehensive study of the northern and north-western margin of the Eromanga Basin, covering the area from the western Georgina Basin to Gosses Bluff in the Amadeus Basin, thence to the Olgas and the Palaeozoic outliers around Indulkina and Mt. John. This resulted in a voluminous departmental report and much improved concepts for possible arrangements of pre-Mesozoic strata beneath the Mesozoic deposits of the Eromanga Basin.

In January, 1962 I was promoted to Senior Geologist in charge of the newly created Petroleum Geology Section of the S.A. Department of Mines. Although our main task was monitoring company exploration work, my team and I also undertook independent research projects like the mapping of the Oodnadatta 1:250 000 map sheet in the course of which we discovered the circular structure (?astroblem?) of Mt. Toondina and Permian coal bearing strata at its centre.

Until the middle of 1963 Delhi-Santos had drilled seven wells at the top of anticlinal structures, all of which were "dry holes". When the well Gidgealpa Nr. 1, drilled on the flank of an anticline, also failed to produce hydrocarbons, Delhi-Santos and their newly acquired partner French Petroleum Company of Australia wanted a temporary stop of exploration drilling. I was sure however, that I recognized positive indications for the presence of hydrocarbons in Permian sandstones on the petrophysical logs. Against substantial opposition by high ranking company geologists (e.g.: R.C. Sprigg, C. de Lapparent, F. Hinson) and only with the help of the Premier, Sir Thomas Playford, was I able to overcome the resistance and ensure the drilling of the well Gidgealpa Nr. 2 on top of the structure. It was the discovery of the Cooper Basin hydrocarbon province! (see: B. O'Neil, 1995, "Above and Below").

After the gas discovery of Gidgealpa the Petroleum Geology Section and the Seismic Section were joined to form the Petroleum Exploration Division which I headed as Supervising Geologist until I resigned from the S.A. Department of Mines in 1973. Together with my staff I concentrated on a systematic study of South Australian sedimentary basins. We undertook active exploration work in basins where little information was available like the Arckaringa Basin (discovery of substantial coal deposits and pre-Permian evaporates) Officer Basin (first seismic traverse of the eastern basin and discovery of Cambrian sabkha deposits) and Arrowie Basin (lithofacies studies of the Cambrian succession between Stuart Shelf in South Australia and Mt. Arrowsmith in NSW). Comprehensive data compilations were produced for the Pedirka Basin, the Murray Basin, including the underlying Renmark Trough and a study of the Gambier-Otway Basin, carried out in conjunction with the Geological Survey of Victoria. In addition to the individual papers and reports published on the results of each project, the essence of these studies was summarized in the papers "Depositional history and tectonics of South Australian sedimentary basins" which I presented to the 4th United Nations Petroleum Symposium in Canberra in 1969 and "Permian palaeogeography and depositional environment of the Arckaringa Basin, South Australia", presented at the 2nd Gondwana Symposium in South Africa in 1970.

At the Gondwana meeting in South Africa I met the renowned palaeoclimatologist, Prof. Martin Schwarzbach. It was he who subsequently urged the University of Cologne to offer me the position as Professor of Applied Geology in 1972. Due to political changes in South Australia, the exploration budget of my division had been severely curtailed which prompted me to accept the offer from Cologne. In March 1973 I resigned from the S.A. Department of Mines and left for Germany. Prior to my departure I was elected a Distinguished Member of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia and in September 1973 I was awarded the Sir Joseph Verco Medal of the Royal Society of South Australia.

Western Mining Corporation which, on my advice, had taken up the Patchawarra farm out in the Cooper Basin and the farm out of the Pedirka Basin retained me as a consultant, giving me the opportunity to return to Australia every year up to1982. In addition I was appointed Visiting Professor at the Geology Department of Sydney University in the winter of 1977. During that time I completed the manuscript on Australian silcretes for publication in the silcrete monograph edited by Langford-Smith. In 1985 I spent six months in Adelaide to review the exploration project in the Canning Basin for Western Mining Corporation. I cooperated with C.R. Twidale, Adelaide University, R. Gruen, ANU and J.J. Veevers, Macquarie University on various geological aspects of Australia.

During my time at Cologne University my research concentrated on the economic potential, the tectono-sedimentary facies and the palaeoclimatic development of Permo-Triassic depositional sequences of Gondwana and Gondwana derived terranes. These included a five year study of the Permian succession and their base metal and uranium potential of the Dolomites in the southern Alps (involving five doctor theses, one of them by J. Drake-Brookman of West Australia), a research project involving a study of nine years of the coal and hydrocarbon potential of the Karoo deposits of Tanzania (six doctor theses) and the Permo-Carboniferous glacial deposits and their amelioration sequences in Yunnan (western China) and Tibet (one doctor thesis). This was followed by a comparative study of Gondwana glacial deposit, the deglaciation event and the postglacial sequences in East Africa, Madagascar, Oman, the Himalaya and Tibet, south-west China, the Thai and Malay Peninsula and north-west Australia (e.g. J. Indian Assoc. Sed., vol. 20, 1-19).

I have been greatly honoured when 54 colleagues from every part of Gondwana, 11 of them from Australia, found the time to prepare original papers for the presentation volume "Contributions to Geology and Palaeontology of Gondwana in Honour of Helmut Wopfner" published at the occasion of my 75th birthday. Last year and the year before, the Chinese Academy of Sciences invited me to give several lectures in Beijing, Xian, Yichang and Nanjing and I am proud, that my picture adorns the history chapter of the website of SANTOS Ltd., the company I first worked for in Australia.

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