S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Furlonge, Mr William Holland (geology)

Born: 1852, London, United Kingdom.
Died: Date not known, Madagascar.

William Holland Furlonge, land surveyor and amateur geologist, was the son of a British ship owner and a nephew of Sir William Whiteway, one time governor of Newfoundland, Canada. After voyages to Australia and elsewhere he went to Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) on the shores of Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada, in about 1874.There he qualified as a land surveyor in April 1877 and was employed by the Silver Islet Mine in Lake Superior. The mine extended several hundred metres under the water of the lake. His association with various mining experts encouraged him to study mineralogy, for which he acquired a fine microscope. He also surveyed Beaver Mine, near Port Arthur, of which he was part owner.

Furlonge left Canada for England in 1887 and in January the next year left that country for the South African Republic (Transvaal). He settled in Barberton. In June 1888 he became a foundation member of the short-lived Barberton Scientific and Literary Society and served on its committee for the first year. In July 1889 he reported on the geology and prospects of Sheba Mine near Barberton to the mine management. That same year he also produced a report for Transvaal Silvermines, Ltd. that was published in Johannesburg. His observations in the Barberton area were written up as "Notes on the geology of the De Kaap Transvaal gold-fields" and published in the Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers (Vol. 18, pp. 334-348) in 1890.

Around 1890 Furlonge moved to Johannesburg. After a short time he visited a mining field in Madagascar where he died of a fever. He was a genial, efficient and painstaking surveyor and was not married.

List of sources:
Plug, C. Early scientific and professional societies in the Transvaal: Barberton 1887-1889. South African Journal of Cultural History, 1990, Vol. 4(3), pp. 190-199.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

William Holland Furlonge. Retrieved from http://www.aols.org/sites/default/files/Furlonge-W.H.pdf on 19 December 2016.

Compiled by: C. Plug