|The first geology class at UNE 1939 (from Voisey 1964)|
L to R: Mary Hindmarsh, Catherine Miller, Rae Anthony,
Frank Wickwood, Sylvia Willoughby & Joan Bates.
Rae Anthony and Joan Bates became the first geology graduates in 1943
While I'm on the subject of the history of the UNE geology department I came across this interview with one of UNEs most well known geologists, Dr Richard Stanton. It is an interesting read as it demonstrates how little we knew of much of our geological history until relatively recently. In paricular the interview demonstrates how even the concepts that we now take for granted as geologists were only developed in the last generation or so. This includes such fundamental concepts such as plate tectonics and the ideas that arrived from it. The interview can be found on the Australian Academy of Sciences page here. Dr Stanton obtained his undergraduate geology degree from UNE and is still an Emeritus Professor there.
Recently I've also been in contact with a couple of undergraduate geology students and some of my fellow students from UNE which reminded me of the awesome geology alumni that UNE has and what seems a bright future with dedicated students with a love of the subject. I'm so pleased that the department still has excellent staff including Dr Nancy Vickery who with her collegues has recently demonstrated that the 'Basalts' of the Inverell and Glen Innes area are quite different or Dr. John Paterson who has made some incredible palaeontological discoveries in South Australia and Associate Professor Paul Ashley with an inexhaustible knowledge of geochemistry and metallic mineral deposits. There is a couple of other geology staff now at UNE who I've not met but given the history of the department I'm sure they will continue be a great source of research into our region and examples to their students.
While I'm still on the topic it is worth mentioning that some geologists from UNE have gone to become important drivers of political change such as Professor Peter Flood, or some controversial ones such as Professor Ian Plimer.
Voisey, A.H. 1964. Twenty Years of Geology in New England - The first twenty-five years of geology in he New England University College and in the University of New England. L.A. Cotton School of Geology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW.