S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Wilmer, Mr W H Carington (geology, physical geography, insect collection)

Born: Date not known, England.
Died: Date not known, Soutpansberg district, South Africa.

W.H. Carrington Wilmer, hunter, trader and concessionaire, sailed from Cape Town to Walfish Bay in about July 1874 and worked for the hunter and trader C.C. Thomas until the latter's death in 1878. He hunted in Kaokoland from 1874 to April 1877 and thereafter traded at Walfish Bay. With two others he obtained three mining concessions in the region of the lower Swakop and Kuiseb Rivers in 1882-1883. These included the Hope Mine (copper), for which he established the Hope Mining Company. He left the territory in 1889.

Wilmer found time for several scientific pursuits. From 1887 to 1889 he presented Coleoptera (beetles) and other insects from Walfish Bay and Damaraland to the South African Museum, Cape Town. Several species were new to the museum's collections. Around this time he contributed a paper on "The relationship of the sand-dune formation on the south-west coast of Africa to the local wind currents" to the Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society (1886-1889, Vol. 5, pp. 326-329), though he was not a member of the society. In this paper he described the seasonal variation of the winds and how the dunes of the coastal desert between the Orange River and Walfish Bay have been advancing to the north. He also compiled a Sketch map of the Damaraland goldfields, with the geological formations and mineral deposits (Cape Town, 1887) on a scale of 1:320 000. In the Argus of 4 September 1890 he described an outbreak of rabies among the dogs of the people living south of the Kunene River. The disease was still prevalent in northern Namibia when he left the territory in 1889. A few years later, as co-author with C. Wilson-Moore*, he participated in writing The minerals of southern Africa (Johannesburg, 1893).

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope. Report of the trustees of the South African Museum, 1887, 1888, 1889.

Hall, A.L. A bibliography of South African geology to the end of 1920. Pretoria: Geological Survey, Memoir No. 18, 1922.

Henning, M.W. Animal diseases in South Africa (Vol. 2, p. 598). Central News Agency, 1932.

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

Tabler, E.C. Pioneers of South West Africa and Ngamiland, 1738-1880. Cape Town: Balkema, 1973.

Venter, R.J. Bibliography of regional meteorological literature. Vol. 1. Southern Africa, 1486-1948. Pretoria: Weather Bureau, 1949.

Compiled by: C. Plug