Robert Carl Sticht

Mount Lyell mine, about 1900 (AOT, PH30/1/4803)

Robert Carl Sticht, (18561922), mine manager, was born in America and trained as a metallurgist before moving to Tasmania in 1895 to work for the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company. He successfully designed and supervised the construction of the smelters, and in 1897 became General Manager. Five years later, Sticht attained the first truly successful pyritic smelting result, whereby copper ore was smelted without the use of introduced fuel, gaining him the reputation as the greatest authority on pyritic smelting. Sticht proved a shrewd and competent manager and oversaw Mount Lyell's rise to become Australia's dominant copper producer, his twenty-five year tenure as manager spanning a particularly fruitful and colourful mining era. One of Sticht's less successful legacies, arising from his pyritic smelting process, was the barren landscape of Queenstown.

Further reading: G Blainey, The peaks of Lyell, Melbourne, 1954; ADB 12; AIMM Biographical Series No 5, Robert C Sticht, Melbourne, 1995.

Lou Rae