S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Wilson-Moore, Mr Cunninghame (geology)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

Cunninghame Wilson-Moore, Fellow of the Geological Society of London, was largely responsible for the establishment of a geological museum by the Chamber of Mines, Johannesburg, in 1890, and was its curator until 1895. The collection of about 5000 samples was housed in the Chamber of Mines building. In 1895 the Geological Society of South Africa started its own collection, which was combined with that of the Chamber of Mines in 1897, and the combined collection was presented to the society in 1904. Wilson-Moore was succeeded as curator by David Draper*.

In 1893 Wilson-Moore and W.H.C. Wilmer* published The minerals of South Africa (Johannesburg, 119p). That same year, in collaboration with A.P. Wilson Moore, he produced A practical guide for prospectors, explorers, and miners: A manual for all those engaged or interested in the search for or development of metallic and other mineral deposits... (London, 1893, 286p). This was an enlarged edition of an earlier guide which was written for South Africans only. On 31 October 1894 he read a paper on "Some South African rocks - chiefly igneous" before the South African Association of engineers and Architects in Johannesburg.

Wilson-Moore became a foundation member of the Geological Society of South Africa in 1895 and served on its committee for 1895 and 1896. He published three early contributions in the society's Transactions: A paper on "The economic importance of the Murchison Range" (1896, Vol. 1, pp. 51-75), critical comments on Draper's paper on the westward extension of the Main Reef (1897, Vol. 2, pp. 21-23), and "Some observations on the geology of the Sabie [River] valley" (1897, Vol. 2, pp. 131-140). During the discussion of the latter paper the chairman referred to him as "a very careful and accurate observer". He was elected a member of the South African Philosophical Society in August 1890, but his membership lapsed after a few years.

In August 1891 Wilson-Moore applied, unsuccessfully it seems, for an appointment as government mining engineer of the South African Republic. In November 1893 he applied for an appointment as mining inspector in the Barberton district, apparently again without success. By July 1896 he had moved to the eastern Transvaal, and in 1899 was associated with a gold mining company at Steynsdorp, near the Swaziland border in the Carolina district. Alluvial gold was recovered there for some years in the valley of the Mhlondosi River. The town has since disappeared.

In his earlier years Cunninghame Wilson-Moore and A.P. Wilson-Moore published Diggers' doggerel: Poems of the veld and mine (Cape Town, 1890). He was married to Frances Mary Cooke, but they were divorced in 1894.

List of sources:
Geological Society of South Africa. Transactions, 1897, Vol. 2 and 1899, Vol. 4.

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

Harger, H.S. Historical notes on the Geological Society of South Africa. Proceedings of the Geological Society of South Africa, 1939, Vol. 42, pp. lxvii-lxxv.

Harger, H.S. The early histroy of the Geological Society of South Africa. Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa, 1945, Vol. 48, pp. i-x.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Wilson Moore, Cunninghame / Wilson Moore, C.

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

South African Philosophical Society. Transactions, 1889-1895, Vol. 6-8, Proceedings and lists of members.

Standard encyclopaedia of southern Africa (SESA). Cape Town: NASOU, 1970-1976.

Compiled by: C. Plug