William Harper Twelvetrees

William Harper Twelvetrees (18481919), geologist, was born in England. He trained in Germany and worked in mines in Russia and Asia Minor before emigrating to Tasmania in 1891, becoming Government Geologist and Chief Inspector of Mines in 1899. He gave outstanding service, undertaking long periods of field research, for example in 1908 leading a party into virtually unknown territory in search of a railway route for the proposed Great Western Railway; establishing the Geological Survey library; and expanding his position from inspecting individual mines to the systematic study of whole mineral fields, and long-term study of Tasmania's mineral deposits. His twenty-year period in the position was possibly its most productive.

Twelvetrees wrote 177 reports on geology alone, and published in international journals. He was widely recognised nationally and internationally and is regarded as Tasmania's most eminent geologist.

Greg Dickens