Working lives of 1967/1969 UQ Graduates

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Is a compilation over 50 years of  evolving  geological work and the lives of a group of  geologists in an industry that has changed human civilisations. 

Working Lives

Working Lives covers geologists and their work covering 50 years,  1100 years of industry experience over 111 pages and  is depicted in a  book published in 2019 – ‘Working Lives’ compiled by three of that cohort, Bill Koppe, Peter Hayden and Bill Turner, with editorial support from Perth-based resources geologist Barry Avery.

The cover photograph shows a long-wheelbase Landrover up to its radiator in water during a river crossing in the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo).

The foreword, written by Professor Sue Golding of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland  (who was also one of the cohort) reinforces positive messages given by the 23 authors and notes: “The resources industries in Australia have seen spectacular growth since the 1970s with new resources and technologies such as coal seam gas and carbon capture and storage, provided a wider range of employment options for geoscience graduates. Opportunities for Australian geologists to work globally and increased emphasis on the environmental and social impacts of mining and production further expanded the employment options for geology/earth science graduates.” This is also shown in the course Earth Custodians 

The idea of a book was conceived at one of the UQ geology class of 1967/1969 reunions a few years ago. At this event it was felt that stories from geologists might offer valuable  insights for students  to contemplate a career in geology, as well as some useful ideas for geology students about to graduate. The book cobbles together the stories of nearly two dozen geologists, all of whom went on to pursue different types  of interesting and challenging careers involving the earth sciences, most of them in the field of economic geology.

Their stories, written from the heart are told in straightforward and often humorous individual styles and encapsulate geological experiences from the dawn of two post-war booms – and several busts – of the mineral resource cycles. These stories are intertwined within the spectacular growth, diversification and technical innovation that has characterised the Australian resources sectors over the last 50 years, and made it world-class with a presence now in many countries around the world. Apart from compilers Bill Koppe, Peter Hayden and Bill Turner, the other 20 stories come from Daud (Brian) Batchelor, Lindsay Bottomer, David Brunt, Neil Clifford, Barry Cotton, Leonard Cranfield, Alan Davies, Geoff Eupene, John Feros, Andrew Graham, Peter Gregory, Neil Krosch, Hamish Paterson, Nev Robinson, Peter Robinson, Roger Scott, John Siemon, Phil Smart, Eric Streitberg and Peter Vickerson.

As noted in the Introduction (part1) -“However, it was not always an easy road to success; many of their paths were potholed with retrenchment, collapsing companies, downsizing or they were victims of global downturns in the minerals industry as a result of depressed metal prices. Commonly, it was a case of where one door slammed shut on the progress of their careers, so another opened. Or in times of hardships, some turned to furthering their studies or adding to their qualifications to better position themselves for the next phase of their work in the industry”. Overwhelmingly, the members of the cohort are glad they chose to study geology, as it has enriched their appreciation of the natural world, added to their enjoyment of traveling through it, and given them the sense of accomplishment that comes from involvement in the discovery and development of economically important resources.

Publication details and purchase of the book

Design and publication of ‘Working Lives’ was done by that stalwart friend of the mining industry in print, Hesperian Press, which is based in Perth.  Working Lives, ISBN 978-0-85905-731-8, costs $30.00 plus $8.55 post Australia wide. Send your delivery details to and pay by bank direct, see and details under ‘order.’ Copies may also be picked up from the Hesperian office in Perth, see the website for more details.