The history of geology in the second half of the nineteenth century:
the story in Australia, and in Victoria,
from Selwyn and McCoy to Gregory Ð 1853 to 1903
Thursday 29th November to Saturday 1st December, 2007.
The Earth Sciences History Group is planning a conference on Earth Sciences history, to be held at the School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, over two days, beginning with presentations on Thursday 29th November, 2007, continuing with a public Keynote Address as part of the evening Monthly Meeting of the Victoria Division of the GSA, Inc, and concluding with a dinner. Further papers and a local afternoon field trip to the historic railway cuttings in nearby Royal Park are planned for Friday 30th November. On Saturday 1st December, the conference will conclude with a one-day field trip to the historic Deep Leads of the Creswick gold field, north of Ballarat.
Major discoveries of gold in Victoria in 1851 led to the arrival of Alfred Selwyn in Melbourne in late 1852, soon to head a new Geological Survey and begin an extensive program of mapping. The arrival of Professor Frederick McCoy at the new University of Melbourne in 1854 also marked the beginning of this half-century, which concluded with John Walter Gregory arriving in Melbourne as the first Professor of Geology at the University, and also to become head of the Geological Survey of Victoria.
Beyond the young state of Victoria, the science of geology was progressing, both within Australia and overseas, in a period which was to prove crucial to the development of the earth sciences, and the understanding of the earth. This conference will help relate local and Australian work to this broader perspective.
A warm invitation to attend the Melbourne conference is extended to members of the ESHG, to all Australians interested in the history of earth sciences, and in particular to overseas workers.
The ESHG is interested in involving students currently working in Earth Sciences history, and the Committee will consider requests for assistance from students living beyond the Melbourne area.
Some papers already offered:
á Preparing for Victoria: Alfred Selwyn in Wales Ð David Branagan
á Early understanding of the Cambrian in South Australia, 1839-1910 Ð Barry Cooper
á Charles Darwin: Geologist Ð Bob Major
á Introduction to the state of geological understanding of Australia in 1850 Ð Bernie Joyce
á Selwyn and McCoy, and on to Gregory: 19th century British experience applied in SE Australia Ð Doug McCann
á James Stirling in Victoria Ð John Talent
á Earliest geological exploration of Otway coast and inland ranges in 1863/64 by C.S. Wilkinson and R.A.F. Murray Ð Rob Glenie
á The joint border prospecting party of 1897: Victorian and NSW Geological Surveys Ð Ken McQueen
á Gregory and the Creswick Deep leads Ð Guy Holdgate
Conference papers will be considered for publication as a group in an issue of an appropriate journal.
1. Deep lead gold mines and volcanoes of the Creswick area
This trip will visit many of the famous gold-rich mines of the Berry Deep Lead system, from the town of Creswick north to Stewart Hill where the leads were "lost", probably because they intersected faulting running along the edge of Stewart Hill and became diverted either ENE or WSW (Holdgate et al. 2006). Further drilling failed to find their extensions. Gregory was involved in some of the geological interpretations in the area. The lead was later found many kilometres to the north where it merges with the Ascot Clunes lead.
We will also look at the Australasian Mine near Creswick where there is a memorial to the miners lost underground in 1882 - the 125th anniversary is in December this year. We will visit the Creswick Museum in the historical Creswick Town Hall, to look at the deep lead mining relics and other historic displays. The lunch stop will be at the old mining town of Clunes, and we will later visit Talbot and other historic goldfields towns. We will also study the many striking young volcanic scoria cones, maars and lava flows, and view the field from Mt Greenock, where in 1836 Mitchell sketched the scoria cones he called the "Mammeloid Hills".
Holdgate, G.R., Wallace, M.W., Gallagher, S.J., Witten, R.B., Stats, B., Wagstaff, B.E., 2006. Cenozoic fault control on 'deep lead' palaeoriver systems, Central Highlands, Victoria, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 53, 445-468.
Those who wish would be able to leave the bus at Ballarat on the return journey to Melbourne and stay one or more nights in Ballarat, visiting Sovereign Hill, the Gold Museum, the Eureka Stockade, and the Ballarat Art gallery, as well as historic buildings and gardens (perhaps staying overnight at historic CraigÕs Hotel) before a pleasant return to Melbourne by train.
2. History, heritage and urban geology of the inner city of Melbourne and its northern suburbs
A half-day field trip will be held on the last afternoon of the conference (talks program permitting). In nearby Royal Park, the northern outskirts of the19th century city of Melbourne, Bernie Joyce and Doug McCann will demonstrate the geology (and related 19th century urban growth) of old inner Melbourne. The famous Royal Park railway cuttings, dating from 1882, are important in the history of local geology. During the 19th century many school and university students, as well as field naturalists and others, made collecting visits to the area with geologists such as T.S. Hall and G.B. Pritchard. The cuttings are now listed geological heritage sites. Details of the area and the cuttings, and reproductions of several original papers and old photographs, will be included in a manual which also featured colour geological maps of the area back to the 1860s.
á Return of your Expression of Interest: 1st June 2007
á Early Bird Registration of only $50: end of August 2007
á Abstracts: end of August 2007
ESHG web site at http://vic.gsa.org.au/eshg.htm
ESHG Committee Secretary Guy Holdgate at email@example.com