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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 10

I 1. Introduction

II 2. The Role Of Technology

III 3. Some Highlights Of Australian Minerals Technology

IV 4. Other Technological Achievements (in brief)

V 5. Export Of Technology

VI 6. Education And Research

VII 7. The Scientific Societies

VIII 8. Conclusion



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6. Education And Research

Mention has already been made of the fact that Schools of Mines at Ballarat and Bendigo were opened in 1871 and 1873 respectively, this was within a decade after the formal establishment of the Royal School of Mines in Kensington, London. In the last two decades of the century no less than eight other educational institutions with the title 'School of Mines' were to be started in Australia. They were, mostly, simply technical schools. Besides Ballarat and Bendigo, the Victorian school that most appropriately bore the title was the Bairnsdale School of Mines.

One of the more famous early mining education institutions was established in Adelaide in 1889. It bore the name South Australian School of Mines and Industries. Another important institution was established at Kalgoorlie in 1902; that School of Mines continues to this day. Institutions with that title were founded in Charters Towers, Qld (1900), Zeehan, Tas. (1902) but like the several lesser 'Schools of Mines' in Victoria they were not destined to have a long existence.

Beginning with the University of Melbourne in 1874 and the University of Sydney in 1892 formal mining and metallurgy courses progressively came into existence in the rapidly growing Australian universities, most of which had already established courses in geology. In Adelaide, the University worked closely with the School of Mines and Industries, and along with Ballarat and Bendigo Schools of Mines produced graduates who practised their profession throughout the English speaking world.

The first Chair of Metallurgy in Australia was created in Melbourne and was filled in 1924 by Professor J Neill Greenwood; progressively over the next few decades his graduates went into senior positions in industry, government departments, CSIRO, and academia. No less than fifteen of his graduates were themselves to become professors and these in turn have produced third generation professors through the English speaking world, and indeed beyond.

Stemming largely from the education and research nucleus at Melbourne University School of Metallurgy, several research laboratories in defence-orientated organisations and in CSIRO were created. These expanded greatly during the Second World War and there followed in parallel, in the decades after the war, new University Schools of Mining and Metallurgy, including Brisbane (University of Queensland) and Sydney (University of Technology, later changed to University of New South Wales). Colleges of Advanced Education (CAEs) were established in many capital cities and major regional centres, and the Universities of Newcastle and Wollongong were founded with strong schools of metallurgy, working in close conjunction with schools of engineering and geology.

Currently some 30 universities and CAEs are providing courses in geosciences relevant to the mineral and engineering industries and the government authorities and research establishments concerned with them. Specific courses in mining and metallurgy are confined to nine tertiary institutions; in a number of others the teaching and research activities are incorporated into general engineering courses including chemical engineering, materials science and materials engineering. Modifications of this type have arisen in part from the difficulty in adjusting student enrolments to present and predictable demands of an industry subject to cyclical variations within Australia and beyond, also to policy attitudes to training of foreign students in Australian institutions. An approximate analysis of the situation in 1985 showed the average annual intake over the previous five years was 130 mining undergraduates and 84 metallurgists and chemical engineers who would find employment in the mineral industries. At the time of the survey the overall number of persons in the industries with tertiary qualifications was estimated as 3500, of whom 30 per cent were mining engineers, 33 per cent were metallurgists and chemical engineers, and 37 per cent were geoscientists. Those geoscientists represented about one-third of the total number of geoscientists in Australia.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Bairnsdale School of Mines; Ballarat School of Mines; Bendigo School of Mines; Kalgoorlie School of Mines; South Australian School of Mines and Industries; University of Melbourne. School of Metallurgy; University of New South Wales. School of Mining and Metallurgy; University of Newcastle. School of Metallurgy; University of Queensland. School of Mining and Metallurgy; University of Wollongong. School of Metallurgy

People in Bright Sparcs - Greenwood, Prof. Neill

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 772 - 773, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher