Biographical entry de Bavay, Auguste Joseph François (1856 - 1944)
- 9 June 1856
- 16 November 1944
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- Bacteriologist and Chemist
Auguste de Bavay developed a revolutionary technique of ore extraction in response to 'the Sulphide Problem' (seen by some historians as the most serious metallurgical crisis faced by any Australian mining field in the nineteenth century). In July 1905 he patented his 'skin' or 'film' flotation process and opened what was to become a successful plant at Broken Hill. In 1909 de Bavay started the public company Amalgamated Zinc (de Bavay's Ltd) and enlarged the plant at Broken Hill.
Born Vilvorde, Belgium, 9 June 1856. Died Melbourne, 16 November 1944. OBE 1918. Educated as a surveyor at Namur and as a brewer and chemist at Gembloux. Plantation manager, Ceylon late 1870s-1884, brewer, T. and A. Aitken's brewery and distillery 1884-94, chief brewer, Fosters 1894-1904, formed de Bavay's Sulphide Process Co. Ltd 1904, formed de Bavay's Treatment Co. Ltd 1905, formed Amalgamated Zinc (de Bavay's) Ltd 1909. Acted as bacteriologist for the University of Melbourne until Thomas Cherry's (q.v.) appointment as lecturer in 1900. Consultant to Swan Brewery, Western Australia, Cascade Brewery, Tasmania and after 1907 Carlton and United Breweries, involved from 1904 in the foundation of an Australian paper industry. In 1914 he was asked by the minister for defence to investigate the possibility of manufacturing acetone for use in producing cordite. Within two weeks he had developed a process based on the fermentation and distillation of molasses and as a result was asked to design and build the Commonwealth Acetate of Lime Factory on the Brisbane River. His son John Francis Xavier (q.v.) assisted him in this task.
- Parsons, George, 'De Bavay, Auguste Joseph François (1856-1944)', in Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 8, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1981, pp. 262-264. Also available at http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A080282b.htm. Details
- A Brief Guide to the Records of Minerals Separation Ltd, Australian Science Archives Project, 1993, http://www.asap.unimelb.edu.au/pubs/guides/msl_gui.htm. Details
- 'De Bavay, Auguste (1856-1944)', Trove, National Library of Australia, 2009, http://nla.gov.au/nla.party-1462052. Details
- Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Technology in Australia 1788-1988, Online edn, Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, Melbourne, 3 May 2000, http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/tia/index_d.html. Details
Created: 20 October 1993, Last modified: 15 February 2018
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