S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Daintree, Mr Richard (geology )

Born: 13 December 1832, Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdonshire, United Kingdom.
Died: 20 June 1878, Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom.

Richard Daintree, geologist and photographer, joined the gold rush to Victoria, Australia, in 1852 and from 1854 to 1856 worked as an assistant geologist in the Geological Survey of Victoria. Thereafter he visited England to study assaying and metallurgy at the Royal School of Mines, London, and developed an interest in photography. Upon his return to Australia he spent some time in Melbourne, but joined the Geological Survey of Victoria again in 1859, this time as a field surveyor. During the next five years he did geological mapping and prospecting for coal, and pioneered the use of photography in field work. In 1864 he resigned his post to become a partner in a business dealing in farm properties in northern Queensland. There he continued prospecting and between 1867 and 1870 played a leading role in opening several gold-fields, thus contributing substantially to the economic development of the region. Meanwhile he had been appointed as geologist in the newly established Geological Survey of Queensland in 1868. In 1871 he went to England to attend the Exhibition of Arts and Industry in London, where he exhibited an important collection of photographs and geological specimens. He was appointed agent-general for Queensland (in England) the next year and did his best to stimulate immigration to the territory. However, he was not a very successful administrator and resigned in poor health in 1876. Two years later he was honoured as a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), but died that same year.

On his way from Australia to England in 1871, or perhaps later, Daintree spent some time in South Africa. He visited the copper mines in Namaqualand and confirmed the earlier views of Andrew Wyley* that the ore at Okiep was of the magmatic type. This conclusion was mentioned in his "Note on certain modes of occurrence of gold in Australia", which was published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society in 1878.

Other publications by Daintree included: "Age of New South Wales coal beds" (Geologist, 1864); Report on the geology of the district of Ballan, including remarks on the age and origin of the gold (Geological Survey of Victoria, 1866); and "Notes on the geology of the Colony of Queensland" (Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 1872), with an appendix by Robert Etheridge* and a co-worker in which fossils were described.


List of sources:
Australian dictionary of biography. Melbourne University Press, 1966-1991.

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

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

Rogers, A.W. The pioneers in South African geology and their work. Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa, 1937, Annexure to Vol. 39, pp. 1-139.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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