Type of entity
Legal Status Text
Authorized form of name
Other form(s) of name
Dates of existence
In the period 1847 - 1896 there were various Government Geologists appointed by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. In 1885 a motion was debated in the Legislative Council aimed at establishing a permanent geological dept for the colony, but faced with a shortage of funds, council members rejected the move.
The rapid progess of mining necessitated the formation of a Department of Mines on the 1 January 1894. Until the 4 December 1894, when E.H. Wittenoom was appointed Minister for Mines, the Department remained under the control of the Commissioner for Crown Lands. The position of Government Geologist had been re-created in 1887 (H.P. Woodward) but he resigned in December 1895. On 18 July 1896 Andrew Gibb Maitland was appointed Government Geologist. He arrived on 9 November 1896 to take up his duties. At the request of the Minister for Mines, Maitland drew up proposals for a Geological Survey, embracing assistant geologists, chemists and an assayer, topographic surveyor, lithographic draughtsman, clerk/accountant; and the establishment of a laboratory, library and geological museum.
By the end of 1897, Maitland had effected all these proposals and thus established the structure of the Geological Survey more or less as it is today. In the period 1911-1915 the Geological Survey, which Maitland had regarded as an organization directly responsible to the Minister for Mines, became clearly a branch of the Mines Department and therefore responsible to the Under Secretary for Mines. In 1922 the chemist and mineralogist, E.S. Simpson, and his laboratory were removed from the Geological Survey and merged with the office of Public Analyst to form the Government Chemical Laboratories branch of the Mines Department.