Francis Logan

Francis Logan

Minister for Energy; Resources; Industry and Enterprise

    Pioneer geologist remembered

    16/11/2007 6:00 PM

    A new memorial commemorating the life of pioneer geologist Henry William Beamish Talbot has been unveiled in Nannup today.

    Resources Minister Francis Logan paid tribute to Mr Talbot, one of Western Australia’s first geologists and the man responsible for mapping and establishing the Canning Stock Route in 1908.

    He said the new memorial was an appropriate recognition of Mr Talbot’s work in mapping and exploring vast areas of WA.

    “There is no denying that the State’s resources industry is booming and Mr Talbot played an important part in its history,” Mr Logan said.

    “This memorial not only commemorates the significant life of a WA pioneer, it also celebrates and recognises the substantial contribution geologists have made, and continue to make, to the intellectual and economic prosperity of the State.

    “We must not forget the harsh conditions that early geologists had to contend with - tough terrain, with only your feet and camels, no cars or telephones.

    “What these men did is truly incredible.”

    Mr Talbot died in Nannup in 1957 after a lifetime of studying the State's landscape. The Irish-born, New Zealand-educated scientist joined the Geological Survey of WA in 1899, undertaking survey expeditions to some of the most inhospitable areas of the State, including the Pilbara and Goldfields.

    Two of Talbot's more eventful expeditions included his 426-day trip that established the Canning Stock Route and a survey trip near the South Australian border that ended when Talbot was speared by Aborigines.

    He retired due to ill health in 1920.

    In 1933, aged 59, Talbot joined the newly formed Western Mining Corporation as its first senior project geologist. He worked for the company for more than a decade and remained active in geology until 1953. He died four years later, aged 83.

    The memorial has been erected by the Geological Society of Australia, BHP Billiton and Readymix Australia, at Nannup Cemetery.

    The Minister said that after 50 years in an unmarked grave, Mr Talbot would finally be recognised for his contribution to the State.

    Minister's office: 9222 8950