Founding father inducted into "Mining Hall of Fame"

02 November 2001

Sir Harold Raggatt, first chief executive of Geoscience Australia, was honoured earlier this week when he was inducted into the Mining Hall of Fame in Kalgoorlie. His induction recognises his outstanding contribution to the exploration and development of Australia's mineral resources.

Present CEO of Geoscience Australia, Dr Neil Williams, was delighted that Sir Harold's achievements continued to be recognised long after his death.

"Sir Harold's contribution to the understanding and development of Australia's mineral resources is unparalleled," said Dr Williams. "He was a first rate geologist and knew that systematic geological mapping was the key to developing our mineral resources. His maps are amongst the best examples of regional geological mapping in Australia at that time."

During the war when the government needed an inventory of our minerals, it was Harold Raggatt who drew together the expertise to form the Mineral Resources Survey, the nucleus of what was to become the Bureau of Mineral Resources in 1946 (predecessor of Geoscience Australia). "Sir Harold had the vision to see Australia as a country with great natural resources and welcomed the opportunity to develop those resources, particularly our mineral resources," said Dr Williams.

During his long career in geoscience, Sir Harold held a number of positions in both the New South Wales and Commonwealth public service. He was the Commonwealth Geological Adviser, Director of the Mineral Resources Survey, Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth Minerals Committee, Chair of the Snowy Mountains Council and Secretary of the Department of National Development.

On his retirement in 1965 he had the satisfaction of knowing that many of the projects he had worked on had come to fruition: discoveries of enormous quantities of bauxite and iron ore, large quantities of manganese, the discovery of the first commercial oilfield in Australia, the promise of large scale development of natural gas, the setting up of the Australian Mineral Development Laboratories, the Australian Water Resources and Forestry Councils and the National Coal Research Advisory Council.

Harold Raggatt received many honours for his work including a knighthood in 1963 and a Medal from the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.

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