We asked our Foundation Members to write a brief biography. Please take a moment to read about them, their achievements, who and what inspired them and their major projects or research.
We hope you are inspired by the diversity of knowledge, history and accomplishment.
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I graduated from the University of Western Australia in 1951 and went on to do my B.Sc. Hons and M.Sc. there, during the time when Professor Rex Prider was Head of Department.
After finishing at UWA, over the next 13 years I worked as an engineering geologist, first with the Main Roads Department of Western Australia and engaged in location of road construction materials, materials quality control and drill logging for bridge foundations. Following this, was my secondment to the Australian Road Research Board for a research project investigating the effects of seal design on the life of sealed roads in W.A.
After a change of direction, for a few years I worked with Halpern, Glick and Lewis, Perth consulting engineers, doing subsurface foundation investigations for city building sites, small building projects, industrial sites and projected offshore sites for jack-up oil drilling rigs.
At this time, a new Western Australian mining boom was underway following the 1967 Kambalda nickel discovery, and the proving of economic ore reserves by Western Mining Corporation. This fired my interest and I obtained work in 1970 with WMC. Initially I was seconded to assist in the Darling Range bauxite exploration programme for Alcoa Australia (in which WMC had an interest). Then afterwards I worked on exploration for iron ore (Tallering Peak), talc (Three Springs) and gold (Kalgoorlie region).
Ultimately in late 1975, I changed direction again and began working as a mining geologist with Alcoa Australia. This turned into a long-term commitment and I stayed with Alcoa until my retirement in 2001. This period in the production environment was a very satisfying time and covered a number of work areas including operational grade control, ore reconciliation, bauxite ore development, mineable ore definition, project work and ore quality control.
My association with GSA began in my graduate days in 1952, the inaugural year of the Society. As I recall, the staff of the WA Geology Department took an active part in moves towards the formation of the Society, and this had a strong positive influence on the student body. Since those days, I have never regretted being a GSA member and value this association increasingly as the years go by. Membership is of great assistance in retaining my interest in the wider geological world and I value the opportunity to attend local society meetings and conventions and being able to make or renew contacts with other geologists.
I was born in Perth in 1923 and educated in Distance Education Classes, various State Schools and as a scholarship pupil at Scotch College, Claremont. In 1941 I completed the first year of a Science degree at the University of Western Australia and in 1942 enlisted in the RAN, in which I subsequently served as a corvette Petty Officer (Radar) in the southern and western Pacific.
Following demobilisation early in 1946 I returned to the University of Western Australia and completed a B.Sc. under the post-war reconstruction scheme majoring in Geology. My palynological career began in my final honours year
when ,at the suggestion of Joe Lord, I followed John Dulhunty’s pioneering work in NSW and studied the spores and pollen of the Permian Collie Coal Measures.
I continued palynological research after graduation initially confining it to coal measure sequences in Great Britain from 1949 to1952 and New South Wales between 1952 and 1955. With the expansion of Australian oil exploration activity following WAPET’s strike at Rough Range the emphasis of my studies changed. Since 1955 my principal research aims have been the application of fossil dispersed spores and pollen to the elucidation of stratigraphic problems, especially those relating to hydrocarbon exploration and to the study of plant evolution and palaeogeography. A more specialised interest has been the documentation and interpretation of palynological modifications manifesting the Permian-Triassic mass extinctions.
Important sequences I have studied include the Late Palaeozoic of Libya, as consultant to Amoseas Petroleum, the Permian-Triassic of the Salt Range Pakistan in collaboration with Curt Teichert and Bernhard Kummel, the Permian-Triassic of Greenland, again with Teichert and Kummel, and the Permian-Triassic of the North Slope-Alaska as consultant to Standard Oil of California. I have also published a range of papers treating the palynostratigraphy of Western Australian sedimentary basins with emphasis on the Palaeozoic and early Mesozoic.
I spent 1962 and early 1963 as Professor of Geology at New York University while in receipt of a Senior Fulbright Award and 1978-79 as Visiting Fellow at Aarhus University, Denmark.
In 1968 I became an Associate Professor and since my retirement in 1988 have served as an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Western Australia. In 1988 I was awarded the W.R.Browne Medal by the Society.
The results of my researches and those with my collaborators formed the basis of 81 publications and in addition over 400 indexed unpublished reports are held on file and may be accessed in the E. de C. Clarke Museum, University of Western Australia.
In addition to my teaching and research commitments I served on the University Senate (1975-78), the University Press Board (1973-78), University Research Committee (1976-80) and as Chairman of the University Scholarships Committee (1973-73). I was also on the Editorial Committee of Micropaleontology (1962-72) and Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology (1967-94). External to the University I was a member of the Fulbright Selection Committee (1979-82) and the State Government Conservation through Reserves Committee (1972-77). I served on the Scotch College Council from 1975-86 and as Chairman in 1985-86.
David Branagan is an Honorary Research Associate, School of Geosciences, Sydney University, where he taught for thirty years. Born at Broken Hill, NSW, he had an undistinguished undergraduate few years at Sydney University, enjoying athletics, music, bushwalking , caving and table tennis, and benefiting from some great teachers of geology, notably W.R. Browne, Germaine Joplin, George Osborne, John Dulhunty, Florrie Quodling, Ida Brown and Frank Rickwood.
He joined the Geological Survey of New South Wales in December 1950 and, over the next three years or so, gained wonderful experience in many parts of the State with Len Hall, Jim Lloyd, Col Adamson, Jack Harrison, Fred Booker, and most particularly with his mentor E.O. (Ted) Rayner in the Western Coalfield.
Having missed out on an Antarctic job in 1953 he joined National Lead of New York, under John Ivanac in exploration for copper, lead and uranium in Central Australia and NW Queensland, and a brief contact with sand-mining on the east coast.
From mid 1954 to early 1957 was spent in Europe, studying music with a stint of high school teaching, followed by work on African photogeology for Hunting Technical Services, and getting married.
Return to Sydney via the USA saw brief stints as a builders' labourer (a great job!) and in medical equipment sales (not my cup of tea).
Serendipity (someone leaving at short notice and a chance lunchtime phone call to Prof Charles Marshall) took me back to the Department of Geology & Geophysics at Sydney Uni into coal research, and the chance to do a Ph.D. The pay was even higher than in the private sector –imagine that!
Serendipity struck again in 1960 when an eminent and better-qualified person declined the offer to lecture to hordes of Geology 1 students. I took the job and, in the days of tenure, they were more or less stuck with me.
The next thirty years or so were great fun with lots happening in the geological world and at the University, which in those days was well-funded. Field trips were particularly memorable, and helped inspire the production, in association with Gordon Packham (a true genius in the field), of Field Geology of New South Wales. Combined field trips with the University of New South Wales and support from the Geological Survey of New South Wales, begun by Cliff McElroy and Ken Glasson at Joadja moved north, settling for a few years at Glenbawn Dam, where well over a hundred aspiring geos perspired in February warmth to solve the stratigraphic and structural puzzles. They were good days indeed. Later excursions in New Zealand and Western Victoria were similarly memorable, at least to me.
I migrated a little to Engineering and Mining Geology (when the latter course still existed at SU) and particularly enjoyed the practical aspects of applying geology to ‘real’ problems (landslides, dams, tunnels etc.). There was always a lot to learn.
Since retirement in 1989 I have spent more time on the history of Australian geology, but the Sydney Basin has not been forgotten and odd bits of its geology are still being pursued.
I have enjoyed the friendship of many fine colleagues, some sadly already passed on, and got to know uncountable students and to respect their abilities. I cannot imagine a better career than that of a geologist.
JAMES MACGREGOR (MAC) DICKINS
Mac was born on 7 September 1923 in Geelong, Victoria, the eldest of six siblings. He received his later education at Melbourne High School (1937-1941), before he enlisted in the army, at the age of 18, during World War II.
He went on to study at Melbourne University for a BSc degree (1947-1949) and completed his honours degree wilst a Cadet Geologist with the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics (BMR). He then worked for BMR – then in Melbourne – with Curt Teichert, a senior lecturer at Melbourne University.
After Mac moved to Canberra, with the relocation of the Geological Branch of BMR in 1951, his first task was to take part in a survey of the Jervis Bay Territory (ACT) and adjacent parts of the Sydney Basin. From 1952 to 1958 he participated in field mapping and palaeontological research on the Permian rocks of the Carnarvon and Canning basins. The preliminary results of this work were published (with GA Thomas) in 1954, followed by a series of detailed systematic papers on Permian bivalves and gastropods, for which Mac was awarded the MSc degree from Melbourne University in 1958.
During the 1960s Mac continued publishing a prolific stream of papers on Permian molluscs from Western Australia, was awarded the PhD degree from the University of Queensland in 1962, and later turned his attention to the Permian macrofaunas of the Bowen and Sydney basins of eastern Australia. This provided a firm basis for his later research on Permian global biostratigraphy, on which he established an international reputation, receiving the Mining, Geological and Metallurgical Society of India’s Chrestian Mica Gondwanaland Medal.
In the 1970s Mac administered the Palaeontology Group of BMR. He coordinated the group program and liaison and co-operation with the palaeontological groups of state geological surveys, and was curator for the Commonwealth Palaeontological Collection. During this period Mac developed his ideas on palaeoclimate and palaeogeography for the Carboniferous, Permian and Triassic periods. He continued his taxonomic work, which formed the basis of local correlation schemes, and recognised the problems involved with establishing a global time scale for the Permian.
Mac formally retired from the Australian Geological Survey Organisation in 1988, but continued his research for another 16 years, publishing several taxonomic papers, such as on Lower Permian molluscs from Oman, Late Carboniferous brachiopods from Antarctica, as well as on palaeoclimate, and global tectonics.
Mac has an excellentn record of service to the geological community both in Australia and internationally. He was a Founding Member of the Geological Society of Australia (GSA) in 1952, Federal Secretary (GSA) in 1959-1961, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth Territories Division (GSA) 1963, 1964, 1977 and 1978, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the formation of the GSA Specialist Group in Palaeontology and Biostratigraphy (the forerunner of the Australasian Association of Palaeontologists) in 1970.
Internationally, Mac served as Chairman of the IUGS Subcommission on Gondwana Stratigraphy in 1970, he chaired the organising committee for the 3rd International Gondwana Symposium held in Canberra 1973, and served on the organising committees for several subsequent Gondwana symposia. He served as Vice-Chairman of the Permian Sub-commission (1984), and was a titular member for many years. Mac has served on working groups on the Carboniferous-Permain boundary, and the Permian-Triassic boundary. He was also Co-leader of the successful IGCP Project203, Permo-Triassic events of east Tethys and their international correlation.
Mac wrote or co-authored over 100 scientific papers, most on aspects of Permian, or Triassic, molluscs and biostratigraphy. Many of these were fundamental ro our early understanding of the distribution and stratigraphic relationships of Permian sediments in Australia. In addition to his authorship, Mac also promoted his science by undertaking an editorial role on numberous volumes, especially those dealing with Gondwana and the Tethys regions.
Mac placed great emphasis on original thought in research, and never felt constrained to accept current geological dogma, such as the plate tectonic model. In his retirement years mac became strongly involved in alternative tectonic thought. This iconoclastic approach was exemplified in his editing with Dong Choi a newsletter on New Concepts in Global Tectonics.
Mac will be remembered for his scientific achievements by his colleagues both in Australia, and throughout the world. He will also be remembered for his strong social activities by his local community.
Peter Jones and Robert Nicoll, Department of Earth and Marine Sciences, The Australian National University. TAG 138: March 2006.
B. M. L. ELLIOTT
I was born in Perth WA in 1928 and spent my early life on Tallering Station (sheep) when not attending boarding school in Perth (Christ Church Grammar School). My best and most interesting subjects at school were geography and geology (I was the only student). When I finished school I wanted to be a geologist which would allow me to spend plenty time in the country without being a sheep man. When I graduated from UWA in 1952, on the recommendation of Dr. Rhodes Fairbridge, I obtained a position as a field geologist with West Australian Petroleum PL (WAPET) which was just starting large scale exploration in the Perth, Carnarven and Canning basins. I spent several years as a field geologist mainly in the Canning basin. WAPET was the first company in Australia to conduct regional aeromagnetic, gravity and seismic surveys to interpret the surface and subsurface geology of their large exploration permits. My experience in seeing all these techniques integrated led me to become a petroleum geologist.
As field mapping ceased I became a wellsite geologist and eventually Chief Development Geologist for WAPET.
The best and most exciting projects I was involved in were the discoveries of oil and gas in Barrow No.1 and Jardasino No.1 (Perth basin) in June 1964. These led to the production of oil from Barrow Island and gas from the Dongarra Gas Field. After twelve years of dry holes these discoveries were fabulous and showed what persistence and good teamwork in the various techniques can achieve.
In 1970 I left WAPET and was involved in several explorations in Melbourne and Perth. One thing that helped me greatly was my Post Graduate Diploma in Business from the Western Australian Institute of Technology.
Apart from company activities I was on the committee of GSA in Perth from 1957 to 1970 and was Chairman of the WA Division in 1964 and again in 1970. when I went to Melbourne I was again on the GSA committee and was Chairman of the Victorian Division in 1974 and Federal Treasurer in 1978-80. I was also Branch President of the Victorian Branch of APEA in 1977-78. These committee activities benefited me greatly in interacting with and directing committees and groups of people. These were skills not learnt easily at university or with my employers. Also, in the course of meetings and conferences I met many capable people in the oil exploration and production business.
As most of the reports I wrote were confidential to my employers my publications were very limited. Some published items were:
Elliott, R.M.L., 1982. Oil and Natural Gas, Chapter 25, Atlas of Victoria. Editor J.S. Duncan. Published by the government of Victoria
Elliott, R.M.L., 1990. Petroleum, Chapter 7, pp 716-724. Browse Basin, Chapte 4, pp 535-547. Memoirs 3 Geology and Mineral Resources of Western Australia. Department of Mines, WA.
Elliott, R.M.L. et al, 1987. Geology and Mineral Potential of the South West of Western Australia, pp 22-24. Record 1987/4 Geological Survey of Western Australia, Department of Mines, WA.
In 1988 I retired with my wife to a small rural property in Roleystone 35km south east of Perth. Here I grow roses, fruit trees and play tennis on our own court. I assist several voluntary organisations, such as Araluen Botanic Park and the Churchmans Bushland Group.
ROBERT GEOFFREY ELMS
Born Melbourne, 1932, educated at Melbourne Boys’ High School and Melbourne University, graduated Bachelor of Science in 1955. Later awards were Bachelor of Science(Hons) from University of Tasmania in 1965 and Graduate Diploma of Business Administration from Curtin University in 1981. Shirley and I married in 1956 and had a family of three - a son Andrew, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Miriam.
In 1956 I joined North Broken Hill Limited to work as a mine geologist before leaving in late 1957 to join The Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Co. Ltd. where Merv Wade was Chief Geologist. Meeting a gentleman like Merv was one of my better experiences. Although he left after only one year, his encouragement and friendship was beyond words, and continued long after his departure. My first 3 years in Tasmania were spent primarily as an exploration geologist working on the belt of Mount Read Volcanics south of Macquarie Harbour. In spite of the benefits of the most modern exploration techniques of the time, the exercise was unsuccessful.
The next two years were spent mapping on the Queenstown mine lease, investigation of geophysical anomalies, logging old drill core and studying and collating old records. This led to the generation of multiple drill targets. I was appointed Chief Geologist in late1962 to oversee a major ongoing drilling program. This verified my concept that the West Lyell mineralisation was not disseminated but consisted of well defined regular bodies, some 37 million tonnes of 1.25% copper ore being defined in this phase which involved very deep diamond drilling and untried multiple drillhole deflection techniques. Among other orebodies found was the high grade "12 West". In 1965 I was privileged to undertake a study tour of mining areas in Japan, North America, Spain, and Africa.
Finally tempted by the nickel boom I moved to Western Australia in 1968.
There I worked for Union Miniere Development and Mining Corporation Limited to establish their nickel exploration activities in the Eastern and Yilgarn Goldfields. Exploration for base metals was also carried out in the Ashburton Basin.
In November 1970 I joined Research and Exploration Management Pty.Ltd. as W.A. Manager. In this organisation I was fortunate to have Joe McCall as an associate to help with his amazing energy, insights and especially his enduring friendship in what turned out to be a very difficult and painful period.
Following the discovery of a major occurrence of heavy mineral sands at Eneabba my major function was to manage the evaluation, planning and development activities there, leading to the establishment of a major mining operation. Unfortunately, as a result of conflict in the Melbourne boardroom the organisation was dismantled. I moved on and spent 1973 with Chevron Exploration Corporation researching uranium mineralisation in Proterozoic sedimentary sequences.
In early 1974 I joined Pacminex Pty. Limited (CSR Limited) as Regional Geologist (W.A). Activities were concentrated in the Pilbara and Bangemall regions searching for iron ore, uranium, and base metals. The highlight was the location and evaluation of the Yandicoogina pisolitic iron deposit, some 3 billion tonnes.
In 1980 I was transferred to Western Collieries Ltd., another CSR company, to establish an organisation to explore for coal in W.A., evaluate the coal resources of the Collie Basin leases, and to provide technical support to mining operations. Over the next few years I oversaw the consolidation of drillhole records into a data base, the systematic evaluation of the property, the introduction of modern drilling and downhole logging techniques to the site, eventually strengthening the reserve position to 300+ million tonnes. Regional work located significant brown coal deposits at Cranbrook and Esperance. As a result of policy changes in Sydney head office, I became redundant and moved into the consultancy field in early 1987.
Apart from finding some economic mineral deposits, my greatest satisfactions while in company employment came from being able to build up harmonious and successful geological teams and in improving the status of geologists, particularly with Mr Lyell.
Until my retirement in 1996 I operated as an independent consultant in W.A. engaged in the exploration and mining industry preparing prospectuses, carrying out regional studies, prospect selection and evaluation, planning and supervision of exploration programs, and resource calculations, mainly in the fields of gold, nickel, and heavy mineral sands.
In addition to membership in the G.S.A., I was a sometime Fellow of The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy and a Member of the Society of Economic Geologists.
In retirement I keep busy with family and local church activities, while trying to stay fit.
JOHN ALEXANDER FERGUSON
My interest in geology was aroused by my high school geography teacher ( a nephew of a former Chief Geologist of the Queensland Survey) and was entrenched by the inspirational lectures of Professor Richards the founding Professor of Geology at the University of Queensland.
On graduation I worked on the underground structure of the Great Artesian Basin, contouring the top of the marine Cretaceous sequence from over 10000 drilling logs in the Irrigation Department files and relating aquifers to surface geology outcrops which I helped to map.
After studying clay minerals with Professor Grim at University of Illinois and doing industrial research for the ceramic industry in Chicago and Pittsburgh I returned to Melbourne to help in setting up modern tunnel kiln practice in the brick Industry. Since then I have been working on Cainozoic landscape evolution, especially fluvial processes, and palaeoclimatology.
I became a foundation member of the Geological Society of Australia, and later Committee member and Chairman of the Victoria Division. I served on the Victorian committee for several decades and set up the procedures for the Selwyn Medal to recognise distinguished contributions to Victorian geology. I also chaired the committee to produce “Geology of Victoria” in 1976 and a revised volume in 1988.
It has been a very rewarding life experience to have participated in the explosion of geological knowledge of Australia, the world wide shift to plate tectonics with all its implications, and to have known many of the main contributors to the profession over the last half century.
NORMAN HENRY FISHER
Norman Henry Fisher was born on 30th September 1909 at Hay, New South Wales. His father, F.A.E. Fisher, a grazier and wheat farmer, moved the family to the Darling Downs, Queensland, a year or so later. Norman was educated at the Southbrook Central State School, passé the scholarship exam, (9th in Queensland) in 1923, and spent the next 4½ years as a boarder at Toowoomba Grammar School.
He obtained an Open Scholarship to Queensland University in the Senior Public Examination at the end of 1927, and was a resident of St. John’s College, then located at Kangaroo Point, for the next four years. He studied science at Queensland University, then situated at George Street, next to the Botanic Gardens, majoring in geology and chemistry. He graduated B.Sc. at the end of 1930 and obtained Honours (2nd Class) in geology the following year.
He represented the University at tennis and St. John’s College at tennis, football (rugby), cricket and rowing.
At the end of 1929, through the good offices of Professor H.C. Richards, he obtained a vacation position with the Imperial Geophysical Experimental Survey, in a party working at Mungana in Northern Queensland. Besides the leader, an English geologist named Ferguson, the other members of the party were Lew Richardson and Bob Thyer.
At the end of 1931 (after being interviewed by Julius Kruttschnitt) he accepted a position as Mine Geologist with Mt. Isa Mines Limited. The only other geologist on the mine at that time was Roland Blanchard, Chief Geologist, who proved an able and patient supervisor, initiating the new recruit into the practise of mine geology and indeed of mining and ore handling and treatment generally. Fisher’s work during the following three years consisted mainly of mapping the underground workings, current and past, with some surface mapping, and accompanying Blanchard on examinations of prospects in the Cloncurry district. In 1933 he was sent by the company to examine and report on the newly discovered Tennant Creek field in the Northern Territory, and in 1934 on gold prospects at Portland Roads in North Queensland.
In September 1934 he resigned from Mt. Isa Mines to accept the position of Government Geologist in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. During the next eight years, stationed at either Wau or Rabaul, he was occupied examining and mapping mines and prospects throughout the Territory but mainly on the Morobe Goldfield, and in reconnaissance geological excursions in various parts of the Territory, including the Waria Valley, the Central Highlands, the Sepik District, New Britain, Tabar Islands, and Bougainville. After the Rabaul eruption in 1937, a good deal of his time was devoted to volcanic studies, and in 1939 he was sent ot the (then) Dutch East Indies for three months to study vulcanology with Dr. Ch. E. Stehn, who had reported on the Rabaul eruption for the Commonwealth Government. During 1939-40 he supervised the establishment in Rabaul of a Vulcanological Observatory and Observation Posts.
In 1941 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science for studies in the fineness of gold. In the same year, whilst on leave in Brisbane from New Guinea, he spent three months working on photogeology with Shell (Qld.) Development Ltd.
As a member of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles he took an active part in the defence of Rabaul in January 1942 and afterwards made an adventurous escape to Port Moresby. Suffering from tropical ulcers and malaria, he was hosptialised for some weeks and eventually returned to Australia. After convalescence he transferred to the Mineral Resources Survey in Canberra – a process that was in train when the Japanese attacked Rabaul – and was discharged from the army with the rank of corporal. Shortly afterwards he was appointed Chief Geologist of the Mineral Resources Survey. The war years, from April 1942, were spent in surveying and assessing strategic mineral deposits i.e. those in short supply for the Allied war effort – Mo, Sn, W, Cu, quartz crystal, U, monazite, Sb, rutile, some non-metallics – and compiling reports on Australia’s mineral resources. During 1944 six months were spent in Brisbane on loan to the U.S. Army Engineer Intelligence Corps carrying out terrain studies in connection with the advance of armed forces through New Guinea and the East Indies.
When the Bureau of Mineral Resources was established in May-June 1946, Dr. Fisher was appointed Chief Geologist, a position he held (although the title varied) until 1969 when he succeeded J.M Rayner as Director. He retired at age 65 at the end of September, 1974.
During the early years of B.M.R., he was mainly concerned with building up staff and other establishment problems, and initiating a programme of field work, together with laying the foundation for a unified scheme of geological map production, in cooperation with the Geological Surveys of the States. As the field program developed, he directed the B.M.R.’s geological activities more and more to systematic geological mapping, in the Northern Territory, and, in accordance with agreements between the Commonwealth and State Governments, in Queensland and Western Australia, jointly with the Geological Surveys of those states. Papua New Guinea was also on the mapping programme but this was largely delayed until aerial photographs and maps became available and helicopters an established mode of transport.
As Director he initiated, amongst other things, the B.M.R.’s annual conference and the very successful Open Days and placed increasing emphasis on the production of regional geophysical maps and on offshore geophysical surveys. Throughout his career with the B.M.R. he always gave priority to the publication of results of its work in the form of reports and maps and to making available as quickly as possible to companies engaged in exploration the information gained by B.M.R. field parties.
During 1954-55 he was given a year’s leave of absence to undertake a United Nations appointment as adviser on mineral development to the government of Bolivia. One of the outcomes of this appointment was setting up, with UN and US assistance, of a full geology degree course in the University of La Paz.
In 1963-64 he undertook a similar UN assignment as adviser to the government of Israel for 3 months.
Prior to his retirement, Dr. Fisher took a leading role in obtaining the agreement of the world geological community for the holding of the International Geological Congress in Sydney in 1976. He was Chairman of the Organising Committee and eventually President of the Congress, which was generally regarded as an outstanding success, due to the enthusiastic cooperation and help of large numbers of Australian geologists.
After retirement, Dr. Fisher carried out some consulting assignments, and was a Director of Ampol Exploration Ltd. (1974-81), Paringa Mining and Exploration Co. Ltd. (1979-81) and Afmeco Pty. Ltd. (1978-87). In September-October 1977 he was a member of the International Union of Geological Sciences delegation to China to help organise China’s participation in the work of the Union. He had earlier been largely instrumental in having the Republic of China accepted into the Union as representing China, replacing the geological fraternity in Taiwan in that capacity.
In November 1981 to February 1982 he was a member of a four-man mission to Saudi Arabia to advise the Saudi Government on the implementation of its Five-year Plan for the exploration and development of mineral resources.
In recognition of his work first as Chief Geologist and later as Director of the Bureau of Mineral Resources, particularly of his contributions to the geological mapping of Australia and to international relations in the geological sciences, Dr. Fisher was awarded the following honours:
||Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
||Spendiarov Prize, International Geological Congress
||President's Award, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
||W.R. Browne Medal, Geological Society of Australia
||Honorary Fellow of St. John's College, University of Queensland
His special interests in the earth sciences were geological mapping of Australia and Papua New Guinea, the geology of ore deposits, particularly stratiform ores, and vulcanology.
Marital status: 1. Wife Ellice Marguerite, née Summers, one son. August 1938 - August 1993.
2. Mary Elderslaw Bowman, née Mason. December 1994 – present.
Positions held in Professional Bodies:
|Geological Society of Australia
||President 1959-61. Chairman, Territories Division 1958-59. Convenor of Committee
On Stratigraphic Nomenclature 1959-72. Member of Council 1957-77. Public
Officer 1968-77. Honorary Member 1975-
|Society of Economic Geologists
||Regional Vice-President 1950, 1952, 1953. Associate Editor 1960-71
|Society for Geology applied to Mineral Deposits
||Associate Editor 1966-
|Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
||Chairman, Southern Tablelands Branch 1958. Member Organising Committee and
Editorial Panel, Volume on the Geology of Australian Ore Deposits, 8th
Commonwealth Mining and Metallurgical Congress. Member Committee for 3rd
Edition of Geology of Australian Ore Deposits
|Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science,
Section 3 (C) Geology
|| President 1974. Chairman 1964. Hon. Secretary 1954. Chairman Organising
Committee 1975. Vice-President 1952, 1955, 1967. Presented papers at meetings
1939, 1951, 1958, 1959, 1965, 1970, 1971
|Royal Society of Canberra
|Membership of Committees of the Australian Academy of Science
||National Committee for Geological Sciences 1962-77 (Convenor until 1965).
Standing Committee, later National Committee, for Hydrology 1958-71. National
Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics 1970-74. Subcommittee on Volcanology
and Chemistry of the Earth’s interior, Chairman 1956-74. National Committee for
Antarctic Research 1959-66
|Membership of International Committees at various times
||Commission for the Geological Map of the World – Vice President for Oceania 19.
Sub-Commission for the Metallogenic Map of the World – Convener for Australia.
Member of: Sub-Commissions (of International Commission on Stratigraphy) on
Stratigraphic Classification and for the Stratigraphic Lexicon. Working Group on the
World Volcanological Map (of the International Association of Volcanology and
Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior). Standing committee on Solid Earth Sciences,
Pacific Science Association 1953-1971. Commonwealth Committee on Mineral
Resources and Geology 1953-71. International Geological Congress: Chairman
Organising Committee, 25th Congress 1976, Sydney 1972-76. President 1976-80.
International Union of Geological Sciences: Member of Executive Committee 1972-
76. UNESCO/IUGS International Geological Correlation Programme. Member of
Scientific Committee II 1973-77. Member of Board 1979-80
|Membership of other Committees
||Deputy Chairman and Convener, Technical Committee on Underground Water of the
Australian Water Resources Council. Water Resources Research Grants Committee.
National Committee for the World Petroleum Congress. Executive and Technical
Committees of the Bass-Becking Geobiological Research Laboratory. Chairman,
Australian Mineral Development Laboratories (AMDEL) (alternate member).
Council of Australian Mineral Foundation. Interim Council Australian Institute of
Bryan Forbes was born in Beverley, Western Australia, 1930. Bryan completed year seven in South Australia and secondary schooling at Unley High School. In 1948 he began courses at the University of Adelaide as a cadet in the mining department of the School of Mines. He switched from mining engineering to geology and fortunately secured the privileged position of cadet under Sir Douglas Mawson 1949.
Advantages were getting to know the staff, including A.F. Wilson, Paul Hossfeld, Alf Kleeman and the many-facetted technician, Hector Brock. After graduating in 1951 he gained valuable mapping experience working out of the Tumut Pond camp for the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority in an area best suited to mountain goats. As one of Mawson’s last Honours students, including A.J.R. White and R.B. Leslie, in 1952 Bryan mapped the Adelaidean and Kanmantoo Group between the Myponga Inlier and Port Elliot.
In 1955 he completed his PhD thesis on the sedimentary magnesite- bearing sequence in the Lower Burra Group of the Adelaidean. He enjoyed the kindly supervision of Prof. Arthur Alderman. Late 1955 he was granted an 1851 Senior Studentship, allowing research on evaporates under F.H. Stewart and Prof. K.C. Dunham at the Durham Colleges in the University of Durham. Prior to sailing to the UK he married Judith Newmarch who had obligingly and expertly typed his PhD thesis. Durham treated the young couple well (and later, son Michael) but only one publication, on folded Permian gypsum in Yorkshire, resulted from this sojourn. A petrological report on subsurface evaporates from southeastern Durham was also presented.
From late 1957 Bryan worked with the South Australian Geological Survey and enjoyed going bush again. Effort was initially on non-metallics such as beryl, gypsum, phosphate and road metal, under R. Keith Johns, but later mainly regional geological mapping under Bruce Webb, Brendan Thomson and C.R. Dalgarno. Like a good geological wife, Judith coped with children Michael, Helen and Kathryn and the leaking roof of the house at Hillcrest. Bryan was author of the Clare 1-mile, Marree and Kopperamanna 1:250 000 geological map sheets. All of this was only possible through the skilled work of the Survey’s drafting branch.
A demanding and satisfying experience was field direction of an extended geological survey aided by helicopter in the Great Victoria Desert. Before retirement in 1987 Bryan was privileged to lead the Survey’s regional mapping group whose stimulating company was subsequently missed. Modest services to the GSA included leading of field excursions with the likes of Ron Coats, Brian Daily and Brendan Thomson, a term as divisional secretary and the contribution of the SA Division’s history in ‘Rock me hard, rock me soft…’.
In retirement Bryan has enjoyed minor dabbling in geology, notably writing book reviews for the Australian Mineral Foundation, local church involvement, bush conservation, music, reading, cycling and grand children.
Brian F. Glenister graduated with a B. Sc. Physics/Math double major in 1949. However, Professor Clarke's Introductory Geology course persuaded him to return the following year to complete the Geology major. Interest in ammonoids then directed him to the M. Sc. degree with Curt Teichert at Melbourne. Following a brief faculty tenure at U.W.A., a Fulbright Scholarship took him to the Geology Department at The University of Iowa, Iowa City U.S.A., where he earned his Ph. D. He returned to the Perth faculty in 1956, but ammonoid research facilities at Iowa attracted him back in 1959 to a permanent appointment as the A. K. Miller Name Chair. His research commitment continues to the present, despite retirement from teaching in 1997. His focus is on biostratigraphy, especially ammonoids and conodonts and the Permian System.
MAURICE NOEL HIERN
B. Sc., Grad. Dip. T. P., MAusIMM.
Born 25 February 1931. Glenelg SA
Noel has served the minerals industry in South Australia for over 50 years since graduating with a B.Sc. degree majoring in geology from the University of Adelaide.
He considers himself fortunate to have been among a small group of Year 10 students at the Kadina Memorial High School who were offered Geology as an alternative subject to French.
After twelve months as a draftsman in the new Photogrammetric Section of the SA Department of Lands, he was also fortunate to be appointed in 1952 as Assistant Geologist to the late Ken Glasson at the Radium Hill uranium mine, operated by the South Australian Government.
Here, among the many things he learned under Ken’s practical guidance, was the need for every geologist to think in three dimensions.
After four years of underground experience, he and wife Phyl (nee Pain) transferred to the Geological Survey Branch of the then Department of Mines in Adelaide where Noel worked on uranium exploration, damsite investigations and surveys of non-metallic and construction materials deposits throughout South Australia.
In 1962, he established a regional office of the Survey at Port Pirie, from where he conducted ballast materials surveys for the Transcontinental railway across the Nullarbor and the Broken Hill- Pt Pirie Standard Gauge railway, groundwater bore site selection in the mid north region and the first systematic geological survey of the Coober Pedy opalfield, including underground mapping of the Nine Mile (Larkin's Folly) workings. This led to recognition that precious opal is related to the formation of the Tertiary bleached lateritic profile and the trapping of downward moving silica rich groundwater at aquacludes and solution cavities in the weathered pre-Tertiary sedimentary sequence.
On his return to Adelaide to the Non Metallic Minerals Section of the Survey, Noel became involved in the conflicting landuse issues between urban development and the supply of construction materials from within these areas. This led to completion of a Graduate Diploma in Town and Country Planning at the SA Institute of Technology in 1976. His dissertation for this degree was an analysis of the mining. planning and environmental legislation of the Australian States (he said he wanted to produce something useful) and the remedies proposed in this research, to remedy the then time-consuming and frustrating process of having to obtain both a planning consent and a mining tenement to quarry construction materials, became the basis of the one application-one approval process was later adopted by the South Australian Government in the new South Australian Planning Act of 1982.
In the late 1970s, in response to increasing public concern for the environmental consequences of exploration and mining, Noel led a small group within the Department in pioneering procedures under the Mining Act for the assessment of new mining proposals. Many of these resulted in amendments to improve the capacity of the Act to achieve its environmental objectives. He also made sure that officers in other Departments, involved in the approval process, obtained a practical understanding of exploration and mining operations and the capacity of the industry to manage the impacts of these operations.
Noel resigned from his position of Chief Geologist, Registration and Resource Management Branch of the Department in 1988 to take up the position of Director of the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy from where he retired in 1996.
In the mid 1980s Noel was invited to write a syllabus for an environmental management subject in the Mining Engineering degree course at the University of South Australia which he then taught until the course was terminated in 2005.
Noel has been a member of the Geological Heritage (formerly Geological Monuments) Sub-committee of the Adelaide Division of the GSA for many years and played a major role in the recently completed joint project with Primary Industries Resources South Australia to produce an interactive DVD of Parts 1-9 of Geological Monuments in South Australia.
Many of Noel's geological reports are published in the SA Department of Mines Mining Review series and he was a major contributor to the 1976 Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Industrial Minerals and Rocks volume of the Economic Geology of Australia and Papua New Guinea monograph. He has presented papers to national conferences and written submissions to major State and Federal Government inquiries on native title issues and environmental management of exploration and mining.
Working in the pastoral lands of South Australia, where his father and grandfather lived as station managers, was a particularly enjoyable part of Noel's life.
KEITH ROBERT JOHNS
Born at Port Pirie 24 April 1927; educated at Crystal Brook West, Port Pirie District and Adelaide High Schools; graduated BSc (Honours) at Adelaide University 1947 – MSc conferred 1960.
During the period February 1948 to September 1972, attached to the Geological Survey of South Australia (being, successively, Assistant Geologist, Resident Geologist Leigh Creek Coal Field, Senior Geologist and Supervising Geologist) engaged in regional mapping and in exploration for and appraisal of a variety of the State’s mineral resources – before appointed Deputy Director of Mines and Deputy Government Geologist in December 1973: and Director General of the Department of Mines and Energy in June 1983, until retirement 24 April 1992.
Regional geological mapping undertaken on Eyre Peninsula, in the Flinders, Willoucan, Mount Lofty Ranges, and the Stuart Shelf was published in the Geological Atlas of South Australia. Results and reports on delineation of coal resources and other commodities were published in Departmental publications, "Mining Review", Bulletins of the Geological Survey, and in "Reports of Investigations". Aspects of mineral occurrence were also compiled for inclusion in national compendiums (notably AusIMM Monographs 5 (1975); 6 (1975); 8 (1976); and 17 (1990)). Under aegis of the Government Geologists' Conference, the History and Role of Government Geological Surveys in Australia was edited for publication (1976). Opal in South Australia was published in Transactions of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, London (1982). Cornish Mining Heritage appeared as SADME Special Publication 6 (1986). Mineral Resources of the Adelaide Geosyncline was compiled as SADME Special Publication 9 (1988). Mineral Exploration and development in South Australia, 1836-1991 was published in Mineral Industry Quarterly (1991).
One had the good fortune to have visited major mineral development projects in other states and in the Northern Territory; and to have travelled overseas in 1964 to study the occurrence, exploration for and development of phosphate, evaporites, brines and sulphur in South America, UK, Europe and Israel; in 1976 to study aspects of development and management of energy resources in the UK, Europe and North America; and in 1980 with regard to energy resource development and management, particularly with regard to uranium in Canada, UK, Europe, Israel and Japan.
In retirement one has continued to publish papers relating to historical aspects of mineral development as follows:
Sir Henry Ayers, First President of the Institute and the Burra Burra mines. AusIMM Centenary Conference (1993).
The training of a geologist in the mid nineteen forties. Geoscience at the University of Adelaide: 1875-2000 (2000).
Development of the South Australian mineral industry: 1901-2001. MESA Journal (2001)
Recognition of mining heritage in South Australia. AusIMM Bulletin (2002).
Uranium in South Australia- politics and reality. AMHA Journal (2005).
The Cornish at Burra. AMHA Journal (2006).
I am a foundation member of the Geological Society of Australia and served a term as a member of the Committee of the South Australian Division. I have attempted to inject some light relief by contributing to TAG "Know your Geologist" and to the Earth Science History Group Newsletter (1988, 1992, 1996, 2002).
Born Victoria, 19.10.1927.
Educated Melbourne High School and Melbourne University.
Graduated BSc (Geology) in 1949.
Appointed Assistant Lecturer in Geology at Melbourne University 1949-1950.
Joined Victorian Geological Survey in mid-1950. Served in various positions including Petroleum Geologist, Deputy Director and Acting Director until retirement in late 1986. Worked mainly in regional geological mapping, engineering geology, petroleum geology (at the time of the offshore oil discoveries in Gippsland), groundwater, geological editing and administration.
Peter supervised detailed mapping of the DARTMOOR and CASTERTON 1:63,360 sheets and, on the basis of that work, located separate, previously unknown, groundwater resources for the towns of Casterton and Merino in a region where surface water had proved costly and inadequate. Peter identified and mapped marine Paleocene sediments in the Casterton region and discovered the first definite freshwater and marine Cretaceous sediments in Victoria.
As a consultant to the MMBW (1960) Peter established the source of groundwater which flooded the Brooklyn Trunk Sewer and recommended and supervised the bores which dewatered the flooded pump wells and sewer. This was estimated at the time to have saved the Victorian Government $A 0.5M. Peter supervised monitoring of groundwater pollution and advised on liquid waste disposal in suburban Melbourne. He served on government committees including the Environment Protection Council, departmental committees concerned with extractive industry including chairing the Extractive Industries Strategy Plan Interdepartmental Committee (1986), and participated in a study of geothermal resources in Victoria. (King et al.,1987).
Peter contributed chapters on the geology of south-western Victoria and hydrocarbon occurrences in the eastern part of the Otway Basin to The Otway Basin of Southeastern Australia (Spec.Bull.Geol.Survs SA & Vic,1971) and to the Tertiary and Quaternary chapters of The Geology of Victoria (1st and 2nd eds, Vic Div GSA, 1976 & 1988). Peter also assisted the late Frank Hughes in editing the Geology of the Mineral Deposits of Australia and Papua New Guinea (AIMM, Melbourne, Vols 1 & 2, 1990). Also contributed to The Engineering Geology of Melbourne (1992, Balkerma,Rotterdam) and the 'Geological Hazards' chapter of Geology of Victoria (Spec. Publ. No2, GSA, 2003). He was a member of the committee which assisted R.W. Le Maitre in editing Pathways in Geology, a volume published in honour of the late Professor E. Sherbon Hills, the first President of the GSA.
Peter was a Founding member of the Vic Div of the GSA, served as a Committee Member from 1974-1976 and President in 1977. Have an enduring interest in geological and geomorphological features and processes. Membership of the GSA and kindred learned societies has been invaluable in helping to keep up-to-date with developments in the earth sciences.
JOHN LYNDSEY KNIGHT
John Knight was a well-loved colleague and will be fondly remembered by all who knew him. He had a natural warmth, was even-tempered and dependable, and led by example whenever there was demanding duties to be done. His life was one of commitment to his wife Betty (who died in 2005), his six children, his profession (geology) and the many community interests in which he was involved.
Like the apprentice pirate Frederic in the Pirates of Penzance, John was born on 29 February in a leap year. He was educated at Caulfield South Primary School, Elwood Central and Melbourne High School and, in this formative period, developed a lifetime interest in model railways, steam trains and Gilbert and Sullivan light opera. He studied geology at the University of Melbourne from 1939 to 1941 and graduated Bachelor of Science in 1942. Geological employment was scarce during WW II and in 1943 he was appointed Assistant Surveyor at the Wonthaggi State Coal Mine (at that time a reserved occupation) where he continued until 1947. He fitted in well at Wonthaggi, made many friends, and involved himself in a range of local interests (such as life saving at Cape Patterson) which he kept up for many years.
The Chief Surveyor at the Wonthaggi State Coal Mine, Charles Norris a well-known local identity, became an important influence in shaping John’s future career and philosophy. At the State Mine he related well to the miners and enjoyed their respect; he witnessed the conditions under which they worked and lived. These experiences influenced his ability to get on with people from all walks of life and his ongoing involvement with community issues.
In 1946 Dr D.E. Thomas, Chief Government Geologist, was given the task of rebuilding the Victorian Geological Survey (then a branch of the Mines department) after it had languished during the Depression and WW II years. To meet the demands of the recovering economy for fuels and construction materials, geologists were urgently required. J.P.L. Kenny (a former Director) had been the expert on black and brown coal deposits in Victoria. John was ideally suited to fill this role and in 1947 was appointed as Field Geologist. In the late 1940s through to the mid-1960s, exploration for black and brown coal became his main task. He planned an supervised drilling programs in the black coal areas of Wonthaggi, Kilcunda, Korumburra and Jumbunna. Extensive exploration by drilling was also undertaken for brown coal deposits in the Bacchus Marsh, Lal Lal, Gelliondale, Winchelsea, Anglesea and Thorpdale areas. Coal had been predicted at Anglesea by W.A. Esplan and in the late 1950s John supervised a drilling program which proved a new resource of twenty million tons of brown coal. This coal is presently mined by Alcoa for power generation at its aluminium refinery at Point Henry near Geelong.
Post-war demands for construction materials (clay, sand, basalt and limestone) required extensive drilling, particularly in the Scoresby, Campellfield and Craigieburn districts and John was heavily involved in these investigations. Another major role he played from the late 1940s into the 1960s, drawing on his survey training and experience at the State Mine, was to update the underground surveys of the black coal mines at Wonthaggi, Korumburra, Jumbunna, Kilcunda and Outtrim. On these occasions he was usually accompanied by one of the junior geologists because his chief, Dr Thomas (a colourful Welshman) wanted “all his young fellows to be competent surveyors”. There are many amusing tales of these times. John enjoyed the role of mentor and his advice and tuition were greatly appreciated.
By the late 1950s and early 1960s most of the black coal mines in the State had been worked out or become uneconomic. In November 1966 the State Mine closed as supplier to the Victorian Railways. John carried out a reappraisal of the remaining resources in 1967, concluding that none of the resources were economic.
He was promoted to Senior Geologist in the early 1950s and became Assistant Director (Executive) of the Geological Survey in 1962. In this position he handled most of the administrative work of the Survey such as Crown Land alienation applications where there was a need to protect known or potential mineral resources. John acted as Director when Dr Thomas was appointed to a United Nations position in Cyprus. He retained an ongoing interest in mineral exploration programs and survey work involving coal and the extractive industries.
In 1978 he was appointed Director of the Geological Survey and continued in that position until his retirement in 1982. during this time he was Chairman of the important Groundwater Advisory Committee and a member of the Extractive Industries Advisory Committee. He published many papers on the State’s coal depostis and the history of the Geological Survey and early Survey geologists.
In addition to his buy professional life, John found time for a wide range of other interests. He studied for a Coal Mine Managers Certificate (1950), a Diploma of Public Administration (1958) and was selected to attend a three-month live-in course at the Australian Administrative Staff College at Mount Eliza. For many years he was an active member of the Royal Life Saving Society (Life Member and recipient of the Service Cross of the Commonwealth Grand Council of the Society), the Puffing Billy Preservation Society, the Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division), the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Royal Society of Victoria. He was a Foundation Member of the Geological Society of Australia (GSA), National Secretary from 1967 to 1968, and Chairman of the Victorian Division in 1968. together with several of his colleagues he was made a Fellow of the Society in 2003. he rarely missed the monthly GSA meetings and attended one only a few weeks prior to his final illness. He usually went on to a later meeting of the Australian Railway Historical Society. For about sixteen years he served as Chairman of the Walhalla Long Tunnel Extended (Mine) Committee of Management. He was also a regular helper at the library of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and retained a lifetime interest in matters historical.
In retirement John travelled extensively with his beloved Betty, touring most continents on historical steam railways and visiting many museums on the way. In recognition of his long and dedicated service to the Puffing Billy Preservation Society he was awarded the prestigious Gold Pass Award (he was a member of the Executive Committee in 1962 and again in 1979; served for many years as Station Master at Belgrave and, in recent times, Manger of the Puffing Billy Museum at Menzies Creek). About 150 relatives and friends joined John “for one last train ride” from Belgrave to Emerald where the service to celebrate his life was punctuated by selections of his favourite Gilbert and Sullivan patter songs.
We will think of him often and miss his wise counsel and gentle humour.
D. Spencer-Jones, P.R. Kenley and J.L. Nielson (with much help from the Knight family and many friends).
TAG 142: March 2007.
MAREN KRYSKO V. TRYST
I, Maren Krysko v. Tryst, was born on the 21st of July 1921 at Hameln. After schooling in primary and secondary schools I obtained my matriculation certificate from the Studienanstalt Fuerstin Bismarck Schule in Berlin – Charlottenburg in 1939. I then proceeded to study at the Technische Hochschule Berlin – Charlottenburg. In connection with these studies I worked in the Goslarer Bleifabrik as a Werkstudent until 1944. the approaching end of the war prevented a return to the university, and in 1948 I migrated to Australia.
I worked as a technical assistant with the Department of Mines, South Australia, and later with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Division of Radiophysics, and concurrently pursued part-time studies with advanced standing at the University of New South Wales. In 1962 I obtained the Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of New South Wales in the School of Applied Geology with a major in geology. In 1965 I obtained the post-graduate Diploma in Mineral Technology from the School of Mining Engineering at the same university.
Since 1964 I have been employed by the School of Applied Geology, University of New South Wales, in the official capacity of tutor/demonstrator. My duties involve lecture-demonstration as well as conducting practical classes for first year geology students and for advanced mineralogy and mineragraphy classes. I am also engaged as an instructor for post-graduate students in mineral technology in the School of Mining Engineering. Further I am engaged as a part-time lecturer in the Department of Adult Education of the University of Sydney on whose behalf I conduct courses in Geology at various centres in the Sydney area.
Professional societies: Member of the Geological Society of Australia, Division New South Wales since 1952, council member and treasurer 1963-64. Member of the Royal Society of New South Wales since 1960, council member since 1967, executive member of council since 1968, editor of the society since 1968, assis. Editor 1967. Secretary of the Geological Section of the Royal Society of New South Wales 1965-67.
Member for the Association for Women Graduates, Division New South Wales since 1964. Member of the Australian New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science since 1960 and representative of the Royal Society of New South Wales on the ANZAAS council Meetings in 1968 in New Zealand and 1969 in Australia.
LAURENCE JAMES LAWRENCE
Laurie Lawrence, who died on 10 June 2006, was one of the foundation academics in Geology at the University of New South Wales, and a leader in teaching, research and scholarship within the Earth Sciences for more than fifty years.
Laurie was born in Sydney on 23 June, 1919, and grew up in the Five Dock area. After an early career that included a period as a primary school teacher at Newington College, he joined the AIF, and following war service graduated with an Honours degree in Geology from the University of Sydney in 1950. he worked for a short time at the Geological Survey of New South Wales, before accepting one of the first appointments as a Lecturer in Geology at what was then the New South Wales University of Technology.
Laurie was awarded the first PhD degree in geology at the university in 1955, for a thesis on the nature and genesis of the ore deposits of the Mole Tableland in the New England region, with special reference to tin and tungsten mineralisation. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1957, the same year that the University of Technology became the University of New South Wales, and was awarded a Royal Society and Nuffield Foundation Bursary to undertake post-doctoral studies at Cambridge and the Royal School of Mines in 1958. he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1960, and served as head of the Geology Department for six years, up to the appointment of J.J. Frankel as Foundation Professor in 1963. he was also one of the Foundation Members of the Geological Society of Australia.
Laurie was an excellent communicator on the lecture platform, and also organised a series of very popular voluntary student field trips. One of these was an excursion to Tamworth and his New England stamping ground in a chartered DC-3 at the beginning of 1964, and another was to the old silver mining area of Yerranderie in 1966, where he had done the field work for his Honours degree.
A large number of Laurie’s students also went on to make their mark in the geological profession. These include Ian Plimer, formerly of the University of Melbourne and now at the University of Adelaide; Peter Bayliss, of the University of Calgary; Brian Gulson, of Macquarie University and CSIRO; Lindsay Gilligan and Ted Tyne, Director and former Director of the Geological Survey of NSW; Graham Carr, Assistant Chief of CSIRO Exploration and Mining, and many other professors, associate professors, exploration managers and senior members of the Australian geoscience community.
Laurie’s main area of expertise was in ore deposit mineralogy. Unknown to most, he was colour blind, but he had a remarkable ability of being able to pick subtle shades of grey under the reflected-light microscope. His main contributions to the field were on the Mo-Bi-W deposits of Kinsgate, the tin deposits of Emmaville, the Pb-Zn-Ag deposits of Yerranderie, and the Broken Hill ore deposits. Much of the influence in his work on ore mineralogy came fro Professor Paul Ramdohr of Heidelberg University, who spent two separate periods at UNSW at Laurie’s invitation. Laurie’s work on metal remobilisation during metamorphism of the Broken Hill orebodies has also stood the substantial test of time.
He published more than 40 scientific papers while at UNSW, mainly on ore minerals from different parts of Australia in journals that included Nature, Economic Geology, American Mineralogist, Neues Jahrbook fur Mineralogie, Mineralogical Magazine, The Journal of the Geological Society of Australia and the Proceedings of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. A notable contribution was editing a monograph on Exploration and Mining Geology for the Eighth Commonwealth Mining and Metallurgical Congress, held in Australia and New Zealand in 1965. In the same year, Laurie and his (then) UNSW colleague Neville Markham described the new mineral species mawsonite, from the Mount Lyell mines in Tasmania and Tingha in New South Wales.
Laurie made a significant mark outside geology as well. He played Sheffield Shield cricket for NSW as a batsman, and grade cricket for both Balmain and the University of New South Wales. Indeed, he was one of the founders of the UNSW (the University of Technology) Cricket Club in 1953. he was awarded a University Blue for cricket in 1955, and became a Life Member of the University’s Sports Association in 1959. he was also a very keen life-long follower of the Balmain rugby league club.
Laurie retired from the University of New South Wales in 1979, but continued active involvement with a number of other geological organisations, including work as a consultant for several mining and exploration companies. He also continued to pursue mineralogical research at the University of Western Sydney (UWS), where he was an Honorary Research Fellow. At UWS, Laurie gave his expert knowledge of mineralogy and geology to the postgraduate students, and continued to write scholarly research papers on a range of mineralogical topics.
Laurie joined the Mineralogical Society of New South Wales soon after it was formed in 1975, and ultimately became an Honorary Life Member. He served on the committee of the Society for many years, right up until his death, including the role of President, delivered many lectures at the monthly meetings, and contributed articles to the Society’s newsletter. He continued his Society activities to the very end, and was scheduled to participate as one of the speakers (with a talk on “Mineral collections and their display”) at the 2006 Joint Mineralogical Societies Seminar held during the very weekend that he passed away.
Throughout his long academic career and up until the time of his death, Laurie progressively built up a substantial personal mineral collection. It is perhaps the finest mineral species collection ever assembled in Australia by a private collector, with many of the species characterised and verified by Laurie himself. The collection was one of Laurie’s real passions, and he would devote many hours researching particular species (and their associations) and to its curation. Many of the specimens were personally collected by Laurie during his numerous field trips; others were given to him by students and fellow academics, some were acquired by trading with other collectors and research institutes, and some were purchased. A number of the specimens are featured in Laurie’s articles in the Australian Journal of Mineralogy.
Laurie was also the principal author of a history of geology at the University of New South Wales, published by the University in 2003. Along with many research papers, the successful students and his other wide-ranging contributions, this modest, easy to read document provides a fitting testimony to his role as a “people person” within the geoscience profession, and as a science communicator par excellence. He was also a great inspiration to all young collectors, with the keenest of eyes for minerals, a great beaming smile, a depth of knowledge on a number of different disciplines, and a real presence in any room.
Only two weeks after his death, Laurie’s wife Ruth also passed away. They are survived by their daughter Jenny and son Richard, and by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Farewell, Laurie; you will be sorely missed by us all.
Colin Ward, University of NSW and Ian Graham, Australian Museum. TAG 142: March 2007
JOHN FRANCIS LOVERING
Born 27 March 1930 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
John Francis Lovering was Professor of Geology at the University of Melbourne from 1969 to 1987 and Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University (South Australia) from 1987 to 1995. He has been involved in a phenomenal number of scientific and environmental organizations and has held many highly respected positions. His expertise and advice has been widely sort across the world.
Chronology of Career Highlights
||Bachelor of Science (BSc) completed at the University of Sydney
|1951 - 1955
||Assistant Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology at the Australian Museum
||Master of Science (MSc) completed at the University of Sydney
|1953 - 1955
|| Postgraduate student and Teaching Associate in the Division of Geological Sciences at the California Institute of Technology, USA
||Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) completed at the California Institute of Technology
|1956 - 1960
||Research Fellow in Geophysics and Geochemistry at the Australian National University in Canberra
|1960 - 1964
||Fellow in Geophysics and Geochemistry at the Australian National University
|1963 - 1964
||Visiting Professor in the Department of Geology at the University of Rochester, USA
||Guest Investigator at the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institute of Washington
|1964 - 1969
||Senior Fellow in Geophysics and Geochemistry at the Australian National University
|1969 - 1987
||Professor of Geology and Head of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne
||Master of Science (MSc) completed at the University of Melbourne
||Visiting Professor at the Max-Planck-Institut fur Kernphysik in Heidelberg, Germany
|1972 - 1973
||Senior Research Associate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, USA
|1977 - 1978
||President of the Royal Society of Victoria
||Member of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) to Commonwealth Bay and Casey Base in Australian Antarctic Territory and Macquarie Island
|1978 - 1980
||President of the Geological Society of Australia
|1979 - 1985
||Member of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO
||Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA)
|1983 - 1985
||Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne
|1984 - 1985
||Member of the Australian Ionising Radiation Advisory Council
|1985 - 1986
||President of the Australian Geoscience Council
|1985 - 1986
||Member of the Marine Research Allocations Advisory Committee
|1985 - 1987
||President of the UNESCO International Geological Correlation Programme
|1985 - 1987
||Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Melbourne
|1985 - 1989
||Chairman of the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee
||Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne
||ANARE expedition to Mawson and Davis Bases, Scullin Monolith, Heard Island
|1987 - 1995
||Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Geology at Flinders University of South Australia
|1990 - 1996
||Vice-President of the International Union of Geological Sciences
|1992 - 1994
||Presiding Officer of the Natural Resources Council of South Australia
||Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE)
||Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
|1994 - 1999
||President of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission
||Emeritus Professor at Flinders University of South Australia
||Doctor of Science honoris causa (Hon DSc) received from Flinders University of South Australia
||Chairman of the Environment Conservation Council
||Chairman of the Australian National Seismic Imaging Resource
|1998 - 1999
||Member of the Natural Heritage Trust Advisory Committee
||Professorial Fellow of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne
||Doctor of Science honoris causa (Hon DSc) received from the University of Melbourne
A spur-of-the-moment decision led to Ian's career in geology. At the last moment he chose geology to make up the seven subjects required by his school. The geology master was an inspiring teacher and Ian was hooked. He completed a science degree at the University of Queensland at the end of 1951, was awarded First Class Honours two years later, and Master of Science two years after that, working part-time in the Geology Department in those four years. His first original field work was in early 1955, when he spent two months with three others in western Tasmania, being supplied by fortnightly airdrops.
In early 1956 Ian joined Geosurveys of Australia. A related company and International Nickel Company of Canada (Inco) were jointly exploring for nickel in the Giles Complex and he went to that project. Being among the first to investigate the large well-exposed bodies of the complex was exciting, especially as exploration included the first use of airborne EM in Australia, using technology still being developed by Inco, with follow up ground EM and diamond drilling. At times the geologists encountered small groups of natives still living the traditional nomadic life who had had little contact with Europeans. A visit to some outcrops with an unusual air photo texture, well south of the exposed Giles Complex, showed them to be unmetamorphosed sediments, at the northern edge of the yet-to-be-identified Officer Basin.
Ian joined the Bureau of Mineral Resources (now Geoscience Australia) late in 1957 and early in 1958 went to Antarctica with the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (Anare) as geologist and glaciologist, based at Mawson. The sector south and west of Mawson has one of the highest proportions of exposed rock of any region of Antarctica. It was almost unknown geologically (and much of it geographically) in 1958. The geological work was broad reconnaissance, usually only 2 to 3 hours being spent at widely separated places. Some transport was by Beaver aircraft based at Mawson, but during the summer Ian, a surveyor and a radio operator made a 650 km dog-sledging journey from Amundsen Bay to Mawson through unexplored country. There was always the hope of finding something different from the ubiquitous granulite facies metamorphics. One such find was mica schists at Wilson Bluff, 750 km south of Mawson. Contrary to first impressions, work in later years showed them to be older than the granulite facies rocks. And there was always the humbling experience of being the first human being to set foot on most of the exposures.
As part of the glaciological work Ian spent five weeks on a seismic traverse inland from Mawson to measure ice thickness and flow rates. He also initiated studies of the hypersaline lakes in the Vestfold Hills.
Back in Australia, Ian moved to work on mineral resources. However, he retained until 1971 responsibility for the planning and execution of Anare’s geological work; this included liaising and co-ordinating with other countries’ geological organisations. He was a member of several national and international committees concerned with Antarctic geology, and secretary of some for a time.
He returned to Antarctica five times for two to three months during the summer. In early 1960 and 1961 it was for exploration along the coast from the ship in conjunction with the station relief voyages. Helicopters were first used by Australia in Antarctica during the 1960 voyage. In early 1965 the relief ship was used as a base, 250 km west of Mawson, for survey and geological work inland, with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft operating from the sea-ice. He participated in geological and survey work using temporary field bases in early 1969, and again in early 1970. He was awarded the Polar Medal in 1961 and made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1966 for his Antarctic work, and in 1970 received the Bellingshausen Medal from the Soviet Academy of Science.
Ian’s work on mineral resources was initially the compilation, with others, of a summary of Australian mineral deposits which was published as BMR Bulletin 72 – The Australian Mineral Industry: The Mineral Deposits. Other outcomes were a variety of mineral deposit maps and the first metallogenic map of Australia.
The developing mineral boom of the late 1960s meant numerous requests for mineral resource information and Ian developed an interest in methods of storing and retrieving geological information. This led to a move in 1970 to BMR’s information group. The work included initial studies for systems for handling data and bibliographic information and also involved some use of computers, when input and output was all punch cards and line printers.
In 1974 he returned to work directly related to the mineral industry as head of the Mineral Economics Section, responsible for mineral commodity studies. He was able to keep his feet on the ground as the commodity specialist for tin. His role changed in 1985 to co-ordination and broad supervision of the mineral groups in the Mineral Resources Branch; then with increasing emphasis on quantitative mineral resource assessment, he was responsible for this work until his retirement at the end of 1990. He acted as head of the Mineral Resources Branch for a year during this period.
Following his retirement, he worked as consultant on several resource studies for BMR and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources before succumbing to other interests such as bushwalking and conservation of a heritage- listed ski chalet.
Ian was working during an exciting time: Antarctica was still being explored; and in Australia the mineral industry grew from a minor player to a major part of the economy. He had the satisfaction of knowing his work met a need, and opportunities to work in places little known geologically or even geographically. That sort of opportunity might not be available now, but undoubtedly the challenges of tackling the unknown and contributing something are still there, albeit at a different level.
JOHN BERNARD MCMANUS
John served in the RAAF during 1942-48 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
||As a Commonwealth Rehabilitation Training Scheme (CRTS) student, he matriculated to study engineering or science at the University of Adelaide.
|1950 - 53
||An undergraduate student at the University of Adelaide and geology inorganic and physical chemistry were the major subjects studied. It was in this period that John, as a student, was invited to become a Foundation Member of the proposed GSA.
||At the University of Adelaide, economic geology was studied for an honours degree. Mining I was studied and passed as part of the degree. During the holiday period 1953-54, work was undertaken with the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company, Queenstown, Tasmania, also to satisfy, in part, honours degree requirements.
|1955 - 1957
||Whilst employed at Broken Hill, Metalliferous Mining III, II and I subjects were studied (part-time) and passed respectively at the Broken Hill Technical College. Examinations were set through the University of New South Wales.
||A MSc degree in economic geology was received from the University of Adelaide following 16 months of full-time study leave in 1959-60.
|Jan 1955 - Feb 1963
||Employed as a mine and exploration geologist with The Zinc Corporation Ltd, New Broken Hill Consolidated Ltd and Enterprise Exploration Co Pty Ltd, within the Consolidated Zinc Corporation Group (merged with Rio Tinto).
|Feb 1963 - Oct 1966
||Senior Geologist, Metalliferous Division, Geological Survey of New South Wales
|Nov 1966 - Nov 1967
||Senior Geologist, Placer Exploration Pty Ltd (subsidiary of Placer Development Ltd).
|Jan 1969 - Mar 1975
||Principal, John McManus and Associates Pty Ltd, Consulting and
|Apr 1975 - Aug 1980
||Employed within a team in the Australian Atomic Energy Commission
to evaluate Australia’s uranium resources. In May 1978, John was seconded to the Australian Development Assistance Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs, to appraise the potential for uranium resources in the Phillipines.
|Aug 1980 - Dec 1981
||Regional Geologist, Australia and New Zealand Exploration Co Pty
Ltd (subsidiary of Union Carlude).
|Jan 1982 - Apr 1989
||Principal, Bosandex Pty Ltd
Consulting and Contract Geologists.
|May 1989 - Jun 1991
||Consulting geological assignments prior to retirement.
John carried out duties in all Australian States and the Northern Territory, New
Zealand, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
In a retired category, he is financial with respect to being a Member of the Geological
Society of Australia; a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy,
and a Fellow of the Australia Institute of Geoscientists.
The duties of a mineral exploration and mining geologist are challenging and most
rewarding when coupled with a stable family life.
J. L. NEILSON
I was led to geology through a Boy Scout group active with camps and bush walking. Questions of how landscapes developed and what rocks mean came to me and I was disappointed to find that at secondary school no subjects available touched on these themes. The questions persisted and finally I decided to study geology at university.
I studied geology at the University of Melbourne, qualified for the degree of B.Sc. in 1952, then spent an honours year focused on geomorphology with particular attention on slope processes, which was later to link with an interest in engineering geology.
I joined the Geological Survey of Victoria in 1954, with several years of work largely in regional geological mapping mainly with the Upper Devonian-Lower Carboniferous continental rocks. Publication of the Moroka and Wonnangatta 1: 63 360 geological sheets resulted.
Strong growth in State infrastructure projects beginning in about 1960 revealed a general lack of geologists able to contribute essential geological understanding to the planning and construction of major engineering projects. With the support of Dr D. E. Thomas, Director of the Geological Survey, I became increasingly involved with engineering geology and engineers leading to the creation of an engineering geology section of the Survey. The projects of which I am most proud are the investigation and construction of both the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop and the Melbourne West Gate Bridge. Apart from the bridge, there were many other projects in the Yarra Delta area, the results from which followed in special detailed three-dimensional stratigraphy maps useful to engineers.
Slope stability studies developed, with statutory roles for advice to local government in certain shires. The Survey also became responsible for State-Wide investigations of beaches and the coastal processes affecting them.
The interface between geology and civil engineering is something which I explored and had much pleasure in developing through co-operative work between geologists and engineers. I retired from the Geological Survey in 1992 and have since worked as a consultant in engineering geology. I am also a contributor to a group making a computer-based comprehensive map series on the geomorphology of Victoria.
I was a committee member of the Victorian Division of the Geological Society of Australia from 1978–82 and the Divisional Chairman in 1981. An honour was receipt of the Selwyn Medal of the Victorian Division of the Society in 2000 for my contribution to engineering geology. I have been an active member of the Australian Geomechanics Society, to which I have given many lectures and was an editor and major contributor to its significant publication Engineering Geology of Melbourne (Ed. W.A. Peck, J.L. Neilson, R.J. Olds and K.D. Seddon) 1992, A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam. I have contributed to the three editions of Geology of Victoria (1976, 1988 and 2003), published by the Victorian Division of the Geological Society of Australia.
I represented Australia at the Madrid meeting of the International Association of Engineering in 1978. I was invited as the opening lecturer at the 1986 UNESCO-sponsored international Landplan Conference in Hong Kong.
Elliot Sylvester O’Driscoll was born in Guildford, just north of today’s Perth Airport, WA on 25 December 1919, one of the three brothers who became well-known geologists in Australia.
As he was always known as Tim he added Timothy to his name after WW II. He died in Adelaide, South Australia on 25 October 2004.
Tim graduated from the University of Western Australia in geology and mathematics in 1940, having joined Western Mining Corporation as a geologist in 1939 at Kalgoorlie then to Norseman, where he served as a mine geologist under Haddon F King.
He enlisted in Melbourne on 4 May 1942 as a trainee officer in the Royal Australian Air Force, having applied for a commission on 11 March 1941. he served as a navigator in 11 and 20 squadrons (Catalinas), based in the north east and north west of Australia, serving in Papua New Guinea, Dutch New Guinea and in the islands, being posted to 112 Flight Air Sea Rescued and then to Central Flying School, Rathmines as a Flight Lieutenant navigator instructor. After ferrying duties from USA during and after hostilities, he was discharged from CFS on 11 February 1946. he was proficient in firle shooting from two years as a secondary school cadet, in tennis, cricket and swimming. His 1945 RAAF assessment was very complimentary.
Tim then rejoined Haddon King at Broken Hill, New South Wales, where he investigated shearing and folding patterns, while rising to Chief Mine Geologist. In 1953 the two of them published 'The Broken Hill Lode' in Geology of Australian Ore Deposits.
He accepted appointment as Senior Geologist, Uranium Section in the Geological Survey of South Australia in 1955 rising to Chief Geologist in June 1957, having established a 3D structural model for Radium Hill. That same year he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship enabling him to study petroleum exploration in the USA, Canada and the UK. On returning to administering 40 geoscientists, his interest in the philosophy of science and geological structures in particular soon warranted a career shift away from administration to scientific study of the Cooper Basin Structure.
The Australian Mineral Industries Research Association awarded Tim a three-year Research Fellowship (1963-1965), allowing him to follow his interests under the supervision of Professor Eric A Rudd in the Department of Economic Geology at the University of Adelaide. This led to the formalisation of lineament tectonics as applied to mineral and petroleum exploration. During these studies, he received his MSc (April 1963) and PhD (April 1965). The Broken Hill mine Manager’s Association funded a two-year extension (1966-67) for further assessment of Broken Hill’s regional structures.
Time returned briefly to head exploration sections within Asarco and then within Selection Trust, but rejoined Western Mining Corporation in 1970 as Senior Staff Geological Consultant. He remained with WMC flor the next 26 years. He then returned to Primary Industry South Australia for 18 months to train staff in his unique method of lineament analysis. Tim was then an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide until the onset of his disabling illness.
In 1973 he served as a Distinguished Lecturer in North America for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and returned to Texas in 1975 for a further assignment as a Visiting Professor. He received the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy President’s Award in 1976, for his original work in modelling the tectonics of ore deposits and continental patterns and in 1981 he was appointed Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Australian Distinguished Lecturer. In 1984, time was elected to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
Time was an outstanding scientist, who sought to help us understand the structure of the Earth at all scales, from outcrop and mine exposures, to regional and global dimensions. His methods were meticulous, often highlighting deep structures visible in a variety of data, but previously unseen by many. He strived to pass on his knowledge and experience to others, especially young geologists.
Because may of Tim’s ideas and the results of his research often did not fit the currently accepted opinions of many in academia and industry, he often had difficulty having his observations and their interpretation taken seriously. A whole generation of geologists will perhaps need to pass away before much of his wisdom is applied in mineral exploration and his pioneering research extended.
As Rodney Boucher wrote in MESA Journal 36, he was a member of a number of professional societies, and published widely in national and international journals on the relationship of petroleum and mineral deposits to tectonic patterns in the Earth’s crust.
Tim was predeceased by his wife, Rose Mary, whom he married in 1947, and is survived by his daughters, Ann-Marie and Catherine, and by four grandchildren.
Thanks to Keith Johns for his input and to Roy Woodall for allowing extensive quotation from the obituary published in the AusIMM Bulletin No.1 Jan/Feb 2005.
TAG 136, September 2005
W. J. PERRY
John Perry attended the University of Queensland in 1946 - 1948, and retains fond memories of Geology Department staff members Professor W.H Bryan, Dr. Dorothy Hill, Dr. Freddy Whitehouse and Dr Owen Jones; this study was facilitated by the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme, after nearly four years service in the RAAF.
(What did you do in the war, Daddy? How did you help us to win?
Circuits and bumps and turns, laddie, and how to get out of a spin!)
In 1949 he joined the Commonwealth Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics (BMR), and began duty with the sedimentary section field mapping in the Carnarvon Basin , WA (Cape n Range) and adjacent regions, plus detailed work in the NSW coal fields aimed at indicating areas suitable for open-cut coal mining; he also worked on local projects in the A.C.T. and on the geology of the Commonwealth Territory of Jervis Bay.
This was followed by two and a half years in Papua New Guinea, first relieving the Resident Geologist in Port Moresby and then the Resident Geologist in Wau, the centre for the Edie Creek and Koranga alluvial gold areas and the New Guinea Gold underground mine. This posting also involved working with a company geologist field mapping in the Upper Sepik/August River part of ñ the then Mandated Territory of New Guinea adjacent to the border with Dutch New Guinea.
After returnng to Australia he carried out further regional mapping in the Carnarvon Basin, then was assigned to geological map editing.
In 1960 he was sent to the USA, UK and the Netherlands (Royal Dutch Shell) to study the application of aerial photography to geological mapping.
At this time, BMR contracted a mission from the French Institute of Petroleum (IFP) to study petroleum prospects in Australia. The mission included a senior petroleum geologist, geophysicists and photogeologists. Perry worked with the mission for three years until BMR moved into a new building on Constitution Avenue and established an "in-house" photogeological section and associated drawing office.
The section produced photogeological maps and reports in support of the 1:250,000 scale geological mapping program. It also ran short training courses "in-house" for field geologists, and, during the next several years, with collaboration from specialists from CSIRO and Industry, provided occasional courses for the Australian Mineral Foundation, first in photogeology and later in the application of remote sensing generally to geological mapping and mineral exploration.
During the late 60s and early 70s he was involved in experimental colour air-photography for geological mapping; BMR later adopted colour aerial photography for its 1:100,000 scale mapping program. He also worked on the application of false-colour infra-red photography to the identification of leaks from irrigation channels in Northern Victoria, thermal infra-red imaging in the Bowen Basin and of the Rabaul caldera in PNG. Ongoing activities included summarising data from Petroleum Search Subsidy Act Reports for storage in a retrieval system. He was also much involved in BMR's role in organising AustraliaÕs response to NASA's Earth Resources Technology Satellite program and to later projects including ERTSB, Skylab and Shuttle Imaging Radar. (ERTS-1 was launched in1972).
He was understudy to Sandy Renwick, the Secretary General of the 25th International Geological Congress in Sydney in 1976.
He collaborated with members of the Palaentology Group in BMR in a pilot study of the Oligicine Period in Australia, then took part, mainly administratively, in the Murray Basin Hydrological Program which resulted in the publication of a geological map and accompanying bulletin. Further administrative work followed, particularly relating to Division finances, and he retired in 1986.
Work after retirement included a remote sensing project for BMR, and technical editing for BMR and for CCOP/SOPAC (Committee for Co-ordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in South Pacific Offshore Areas) in Suva, Fiji.
P. E. PLAYFORD
Phil Playford was born and grew up in W.A. He holds B.Sc. (1st class Honours) and Honorary D.Sc. degrees in geology from UWA and a Ph.D. from Stanford. His career has been with Government and the oil-exploration industry, and he is a former Director of the Geological Survey of WA. Honours received include: Lewis G Weeks Gold Medal of APPREA, Gibb Maitland Medal of GSA, Medal of the Royal Society of WA, Special Commendation Award of the AAPG, WA Premier’s Book Award, Distinguished Member of PESA, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Honorary Member of the National Trust (WA), and Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to geology and history. He is currently an Honorary Associate of the Geological Survey and the WA museum.
Professor Rex Tregilgas Prider was born on 22 September 1910 in Narrogin, Western Australia, and died in Perth aged ninety-five on 6 October 2005. He won entrance to Bunbury High School, and went on to the University of Western Australia (UWA), where he majored with First Class Honours in geology. He graduated during the Great Depression when work was difficult to get, and became Assistant Surveyor on the South Kalgurli Goldmine in 1932. He returned to University in 1934 to become Assistant Lecturer under Professor E de Clarke, for whom he maintained a lifelong friendship and respect. During 1937-38 he was a Hackett Research Student at Cambridge supervised by Prof C E Tilley, where he was awarded a PhD for his research on leucite lamproites from the Canning Basin of Western Australia. He lectured at UWA from 1939-1948 while carrying out a busy program of petrological research, and succeeded Clarke as professor, a position he held from 1949-1975.
Professor Prider was co-author of two elementary geological texts, edited a book on mining in Western Australia, and published thirty-eight papers in peer-assessed scientific journals. Much of his research was on Precambrian rocks in the Yilgarn Craton, but he was probably best known internationally for his work on the leucite lamproites of the northern Canning Basin, which he bgan in 1937. His 1960 paper in the Journal of the Geological Society of Australia emphasised the remarkable similarity of the lamproites in chemistry and mode of formation to kimberlites, then the only known igneous host-rocks of diamonds. The paper thus implied the possibility of economic diamond occurrences in the Kimberley region.
Publication of the 1960 paper had followed an unusual path because it was, curiously, rejected initially by the Society as being of local interest only. Later, having become President, he was asked to submit a Presidential Address for publication, and he posted off virtually the same paper. Scientific societies do not normally reject Presidential Address, and the paper was published fairly quickly, and soon led to considerable interest and fieldwork in the Kimberley area. Some twenty-five years later, mining of diamonds in lamproite began at the giant Argyle mine. In 1986, when the Fourth International Kimberlite Conference was held in Perth, the then emeritus professor was a special guest at the conference. He was enthusiastically applauded for his 1960 contribution, which had been transformed in status from a rejected manuscript to a benchmark paper in the field.
Prider was a hands-on professor who made a point of lecturing to first-year students and supervising laboratory classes. He had a remarkable memory for students, and maintained that fieldwork both revealed and formed their character. He ran rigorous and Spartan geological field camps for senior students during which they almost invariably lived under canvas. An unpretentious man, he never lost his pronounced regional Australian accent, and had a sense of humour that flourished the field. He was easily approachable to students and was a source of common-sense advice to them.
Prof Prider was an enthusiastic and supportive member of the Royal Society of Western Australia, of which he was President in 1944-45 and 1959-60. He was awarded the Society’s medal in 1970. When Australian geologists decided to form a national Geological Society, he became inaugural chairman of the Western Australian Division (1952), and later Federal President (1958-59). He was also Federal President of the Gemmological Association of Australia (1967-70), and assisted the Western Australian branch to develop by allowing it to use Departmental facilities for its lectures and laboratory work. He encouraged senior students to join all three bodies. The Prider Medal, a gold medal presented each year to the Honours student showing the greatest aptitude for research, is given in his honour. In addition, the mineral priderite, first identified in rock from the Wolgidee Hills in the Canning Basin, and the Cretaceous fossil Anomia prideri, from the Gingin area, are named after him.
Rex Prider married Catherine Esther Walton in 1936, and they had two children, son Rodney and daughter Bobbie. A devoted family man, the last years of his life were saddened by the premature death of Rodney, an outstanding classics scholar, and shortly after in 2000, of Mrs Prider. Late in his life, in 2004, he was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal of the University of Western Australia. It was presented partly in recognition of the personal help that he and Mrs Prider gave throughout his long career at UWA to enable Asian students to integrate successfully into university life. To the end he retained the respect and friendship of fellow staff members and a large group of former students who had come under his influence.
Dr. J Glover, University of Western Australia. TAG 137, December 2005
J. H. RATTIGAN
In my senior years in Chemistry at Adelaide University I was diverted to geology by the inspiration and example of Sir Douglas Mawson.
Mawson taught careful field observation and supporting laboratory research "to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield" in attaining scientific goals. About him were staff including C. T Madigan, postgraduate students Ben Dickinson, Reg Sprigg and Alec Whittle and fellow students Don King, Keith Johns and those I tutored such as Peter Howard and Joe Harris.
From these people, all of whom became significant discoverers or administrators, much rubbed off. From Mawson I learned petrological technique for hard rocks and into find the basement in Sedimentary Basin studies and do cross-sections downdip into the basin. From Reg. Sprigg I learned to identify a marker and follow it along strike to elucidate structure. Simple things, but seemingly foreign to many new geologists.
After graduation with the University’s Tate Medal my rejection of his offers to recommend academic posts, international scholarships or appointments with Antarctic expeditions caused Mawson to recommended employment with the new Federal Bureau of Mineral Resources. The objectives of that body were closer to my interest.
At the Bureau there was considerable freedom in pursuing geological studies. First with the Petroleum Section I enjoyed basin studies including those relating to the Devonian reefs of Kimberley. I had a role of guide to the original “Four Man Party” from Standard of California and Texas Company that led to the formation of WAPET and eventually to significant discoveries of oil and gas in WA. Later this role led to a party chief role with WAPET (now Chevron) selecting deep well sites.
In 1953 as BMR I had a role of field party organisation and systemic mapping in uranium exploration, NT leading to small discoveries that sparked a later boom and eventually significant deposits in the Arnhem Land region. I was recruited by Rio Tinto Company (UK) for an Australian arm (RTAE) firstly on uranium including office analysis of ore reserves of Mary Kathleen.
Later I was involved in Rio "firsts" in Australia in exploration on new forms of title large enough to protect private geophysical and geochemical data.
I returned to academic life at UNSW, Newcastle and a visiting professorship at University of California. Previously exploration involved remote assignment or constantly travelling management roles. The more settled academic life gave opportunity to publish and be active in the Geological Society which I had joined at foundation. I was an office bearer and president of the local Branch and member of various committees. I published on diverse topics internationally including compilations for Pakham’s Geology of NSW. Such work continued with the editing and writing for the Monograph 17 of the AIMM, a Bicentenary volume of history of Australian mineral discovery. That volume stressed that there are indeed many fathers to a successful mineral discovery.
I returned to industry with Texas Instruments and later for CSR Limited as Chief Geologist, Exploration Manager and latterly Director of Exploration subsidiaries. I retired when CSR telegraphed its intent to abandon resource diversification and began the disposal of production interests (Mt Bewman, PT Koba Tin, Kalgoorlie and Sumatra Gold, Cooper Basin and Queensland oil and gas, NSW, WA and Queensland coal, Mt Gunson Copper) and development properties of some substance (Yandicoogina iron, WA aluminium, gold and copper). In all of these I played some part in consulting on feasibility of Greenfield projects or expansions of operations but am particularly proud of managing teams leading to deposit discovery and delineation. Amongst these were recognition of the immensity of the Yandicoogina iron deposits of WA, the Cattlegrid Copper that rejuvenated exploration leading to major discoveries on Stuart Shelf and the feasibility of a cluster of tin mines in Indonesia.
After many years as a geologist I was granted the Fellowship of the Geological Society, the AIMM and several academic bodies. I am particularly proud of the practical discovery and development achievements of the staff of major companies with which I worked and of participating in the Raggatt BMR strategy of striving to find self sufficiency and export potential – the “mountains of ore” and oil to bring Australia’s development to maturity – particularly important when we were cast adrift (with the protection of our then dominant rural exports removed) on the formation of the European Union.
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.
My first contact with Earth Science was at the University of Sydney in the Science Faculty. I became so enthused with Geology that it became my major interest, after Chemistry. I graduated B.Sc. with First Class Honours in Geology with a Deas-Thomson Scholarship and continued working on my Honours area in Central N.S.W. during teaching and research positions (Teaching Fellow, Linnean Macleay Fellow) at the University of Sydney. I joined the N.S.W. Mines Department (Museum, Geological Survey) but was attracted back to teaching by an invitation to a temporary lectureship in Geology at the University of Western Australia.
My PhD degree was awarded in 1955 for studies on the
Palaeozoic rocks of Central Western New South Wales. In 1956 I took a position of Lecturer in Geology at the University of Queensland, remaining in that position until retirement in 1988.
Apart from geological mapping of Palaeozoic rocks for the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority during the summer of 1956-59, my research interests changed to petrology of Cainozoic volcanic rocks and near-surface intrusions, beginning with the Mt Alford ring-complex within 100 km of Brisbane, previously unrecorded. This led to a study and detailed mapping at the nearby lavas of the Main Range. I was also interested in the Tertiary Lamington Volcanics of the Mount Warning complex and the Glass Houses and Pleistocene cones, craters and flows of Coalstoun Lakes near Gayndah, Queensland. Later I investigated the Brisbane Tuff and other Triassic volcanics north and south of Brisbane.
My university lecturing was mainly in the field of Physical Geology (including petrology). I was responsible for the introduction of Quaternary Geology and audio-visual teaching sets. Administrative work included being Sub-Dean of Science Faculty.
Sabbatical and short study leaves were taken, spending time at universities in England, Europe, U.S.A. (Hawaii and Cascades Volcanic Observatories) and Japan. Highlights were observations of active lava fountains and flowing lava (Hawaii) and a flight around the active dome of Mt St Helens.
Geological Excursions in South-east Queensland (1965) and A Guidebook to Field Geology in Southeast Queensland (1973), both U.Q. Press Brisbane. Geology and Landscape of Queensland (Jacaranda Press Brisbane 1972). Queensland Field Geology Guide (Geol. Soc. Aust. Queensland Division (1984).
Service to the Geol. Soc. Aust. and other scientific societies: Editor, Royal Society of Queensland for eleven years, President 1983. Editor of Papers of the Department of Geology, Univ. Qd. Several years Secretary, Queensland Division, G.S.A. l957-1959. Geological Monuments Sub-committee, foundation convenor l974-1979, federal convenor 1979-1982.
I participated in compiling books on Geological Elements of the National Estate in Queensland, funded by National Estate grants. In more recent years I was co-author of two of the Society’s Rocks and Landscapes books, Sunshine Coast (1988) and Brisbane and Ipswich (1992,2005), and several of the Rocks and Landscape Notes.
I have been honoured by the Queensland Division of G.S. Aust. by the issue of a medal in my name, awarded annually by the Society, to a person for their contribution to the geological community and promotion of education and public awareness of Earth Sciences in Queensland.
E. K. STURMFELS
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
DAVID JOHN THOMSON
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.
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.
BRIAN W. VITNELL
Brain 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.
KENNETH RIDLEY WALKER
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.
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 1inch to 40feet 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.
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.