Robert Logan Jack died at Sydney, N.S.W., on November 6th, 1921, at the age of 76.

Born at Irvine, in Ayrshire, and educated at Edinburgh University, he entered the Geological Survey of Scotland in 1867, remaining until 1876. During that period he geologically mapped several of the important Scottish coalfields.

In 1877 he was appointed Government Geologist of Northern Queensland, with Townsville as his headquarters, and in 1879, on the retirement of A.C. Gregory, he was promoted to the charge of all Queensland. Among his earlier tasks was a report on the Bowen Coalfield, an exploring expedition at Cape York Peninsula, and a survey for a proposed trans-continental railway to the Gulf of Carpentaria under General Fielding. During 22 years he was closely connected with the rise of the mining industry of Queensland.

Among his reports, 145 in number, are those on the Palmer and Hodgkinson goldfields, Mount Morgan, Charters Towers, Cloncurry and Chillagoe, and a number of coalfields. In the course of this work he published three editions of the Geological Map of Queensland, and wrote several treatises, including ‘Handbook of the Geology of Queensland’ (1885), ‘The Mineral Resources of Queensland’ (1888), and, in conjunction with the late Robert Etheridge, Junr., a ‘Handbook of the Geology and Palæontology of Queensland and New Guinea’ (1892).

In 1899 he came to England, to take charge of a large State exhibit at the Greater Britain Exhibition at Earl’s Court, in his capacity as Commissioner of the Queensland Government, and in the same year he resigned his position as Government Geologist to visit China at the instance of Mr. Pritchard Morgan. This exploratory trip to examine the Metalliferous deposits of the Province of Szechuan [Sichuan] on the Upper Yangtze, which involved a 5000 miles journey from Shanghai to Rangoon, on account of the outbreak of the Boxer rebellion, is described in detail in his book ‘The Backblocks of China’ (1904).

Dr. Jack returned to London in 1901, where for about 2½ years he and his son, Mr. Pt. Lockhart Jack (now Deputy Government Geologist of South Australia), carried on a consulting practice as mining geologist and mining engineer respectively. They then both returned to Australia and carried on a similar practice at Perth for five years. In 1905 Dr. Jack was appointed Royal Commissioner for the W.A. Government on the Collie goldfields, and chairman of the Royal Commission to report on the ventilation and sanitation of mines and the prevalence of lung diseases among miners. In his late years, which he spent in Sydney, he was chiefly occupied in writing an account of his early travels in Australia.

Dr. R. Logan Jack was elected a Member of the Institution in 1901.

Vol. 44, Trans IMM 1934-35, pp.567-8

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