S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Wybergh, Mr Wilfred John (geology)

Born: 1868, England.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

Wilfred J. Wybergh, mining engineer, was educated at Winchester College, Hampshire, and at the Mining Academy in Freiberg, Sachsen, Germany. He came to southern Africa from England in 1891 and undertook an expedition to Mashonaland (in present Zimbabwe) in connection with mining. In 1895 he joined the engineering staff of Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa. In 1898 he visited Britain as president of the South Africa League, to present the views of this body to the British government. He delivered two papers on mining in the Transvaal before the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy in England, one on "Estimating and sampling ore reserves, as practised on the Witwatersrand, South Africa" (1896), the other "On diamond drilling in the Transvaal" (1898). Both papers were published as pamphlets. During the Anglo-Boer War (1898-1902) he served in the Intelligence Department of the British forces, was appointed to Lord Roberts's staff, and worked in the military administration. In 1903 he was Commissioner of Mines for Johannesburg and in 1907 was elected a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Transvaal Colony.

Wybergh was an associate of the (British) Institution of Mining and Metallurgy. He became a member of the Chemical and Metallurgical Society of South Africa in 1899 and remained a member when it was revived as the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa after the Anglo-Boer War. In 1902 he became a foundation member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science, but his membership lapsed at some time between 1906 and 1910. During the next two decades he published a number of important contributions to South African economic geology, including the following Memoirs of the Geological Survey of South Africa: The limestone resources of the Union (with A.L. du Toit; No. 11, 1918-1920, 2 vols); The coal resources of the Union of South Africa (No. 19, 1922-1928, 3 vols); The economic geology of Sabie and Pilgrim's Rest (No. 23, 1925, 124p); and The building stones of the Union of South Africa (No 29, 1932, 238p). He also discussed "The coastal limestones of the Cape Province" in the Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa (1919), contributed to the geological maps of Vryheid (1925) and Piet Retief (1925), and wrote several articles for the South African Journal of Industries between 1917 and 1921.

Wybergh's interests were not confined to geology and mining engineering. For example, in 1906 he read a paper on "Some causes and results of the recent advance in psychology" at the annual congress of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science in Kimberley. Some years later he wrote a memorandum on Sunday observance that was included in the Report of the Sunday Observance Commission (Cape Town, 1913).

List of sources:
Chemical and Metallurgical Society of South Africa. Proceedings, 1899, Vol. 2, Members.

Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa. Journal, 1904/5, Vol. 5, Members.

Council for Geoscience. Catalogue of publications of the Geological Survey and government publications dealing with earth sciences (compiled by R.R.M. Price). Pretoria: Council for Geoscience, 1997.

Hall, A.L. A bibliography of South African geology.... Pretoria: Geological Survey Memoirs No. 18 (1922), 25(1927), 27 (1931) and 30 (1937).

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Wybergh, Wilfred / Wybergh, W.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1903, 1905/6: Lists of members.

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

South African who's who, 1908, 1909.

Compiled by: C. Plug