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Biographical entry Neumayer, Georg Balthasar von (1826 - 1909)

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    Neumayer, Georg Balthasar von
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Born
21 June 1826
Kircheimbolanden, Bavaria
Died
24 May 1909
Neustadt, Germany
Occupation
Magnetician and Meteorologist

Summary

Georg Neumayer's keen interest in terrestrial magnetism took him in the 1830s and 1840s to South America, a chair in physics in Hamburg, Germany, and to the magnetic observatory in Hobart, Tasmania. He returned to Australia in 1857, with the backing of prominent supporters and equipped with the latest instruments, with the intention of establishing the requisite observatory in Victoria. The Victorian Government was ultimately persuaded to appoint him to undertake both magnetic and meteorological observations from 1858. His survey program was highly successful and resulted in the publication of a number of significant reports. During his time in Victoria Neumayer became immersed in the activities of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria and its successor, the Royal Society of Victoria, holding executive office and being made a Life Member in 1864, and serving on the Exploration Committee that launched the Victorian Exploring Expedition. After his return to Europe in 1864 he pioneered international cooperation for meteorology and scientific observation, particularly in polar regions, and held senior positions such as Hydrographer to the German Admiralty and Director of the Hamburg Observatory.

Details

von Neumayer, a Bavarian Ship's Officer who had obtained his doctorate at Munich in 1849, first arrived in Melbourne in 1852. Convinced of the importance of meteorology, he returned to Europe in 1854 and obtained the instruments necessary to establish an observatory in Melbourne. Initially working as a private citizen, he established a number of observing stations throughout Victoria, mainly at lighthouses. In 1859, he was appointed as Government Astronomer. He gradually built up the observatory recruiting, inter alia, W. J. Wills who was subsequently to perish in the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition. Neumayer played a leading role in the early scientific life of Melbourne before returning again to Europe in 1863. A Hundred Years of Science and Service, Bureau of Meteorology, 2001.

Events

1857 - 1859
Career position - Member, Philosophical Institute of Victoria
1857 - 1859
Career position - Member, Exploration Committee of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria
1858 - 1864
Career position - Director, Flagstaff Observatory for Geophysics, Magnetism and Nautical Science, Melbourne
1859
Career position - Member of Council, Philosophical Institute of Victoria
1859 - 1861
Career position - Member, Exploration Committee of the Royal Society of Victoria
1860
Career position - Vice-President, Royal Society of Victoria
1864 - 1909
Award - Life Member, Royal Society of Victoria
1872 -
Career position - Hydrographer to the German Admiralty
1876 - 1903
Career position - Member, Exploration Committee of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria

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Related Events

Archival resources

Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre

  • Georg Balthazar Neumayer - Records, 1858 - 1863, VPRS 4680; Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre. Details
  • Melbourne Observatory - Records, 1852 - 1943, VPRS 780; Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre. Details
  • Melbourne Observatory - Records, 1854 - 1870, VPRS 868; Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre. Details
  • Melbourne Observatory - Records, 1857 - 1880, VPRS 776; Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Books

  • Gibbs, W. J., The Origins of Australian Meteorology, Metarch Papers No. 12 (Bureau of Meteorology, 1998). Details
  • Kremb, Klaus, Georg von Neumayer: Auf zum Südpol (2001). Details
  • Neumayer, G., Results of the meteorological observations taken in the colony of Victoria during the years 1859-1862; and of the nautical observations collected and discussed at the Flagstaff Observatory, Melbourne, during the years 1858-1862 (Melbourne: Government Printer, 1864), 392 pp. Details
  • Neumayer, G., Discussion of the meteorological and magnetical observations made at the Flagstaff Observatory, Melbourne during the years 1858-1863 (Mannheim, Germany: J. Schneider, 1867), 160 pp. Details
  • Neumayer, G., Results of the Magnetic Survey of the colony of Victoria executed in the years 1858-1864 (Mannheim, Germany: J. Schneider, 1869), 202 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Home, R. W., 'Georg von Neumayer and the Flagstaff Observatory, Melbourne' in From Berlin to the Burdekin: The German Contribution to the Development of Australian Science, Exploration and the Arts, David Walker and Jurgen Tampke, eds (Sydney: New South Wales University Press, 1991), pp. 40-53. Details
  • Home, R. W., 'Emigrants or Scientific Travellers? Ferdinand Mueller and Georg Neumayer between Germany and Australia' in Baron von Mueller's German Melbourne, Ellen I. Mitchell, ed. (Bundoora, Victoria: La Trobe University, 2000), pp. 11-23. Details
  • Luedecke, Cornelia, 'Georg Balthasar von Neumayer (182601909)' in Encyclopedia of the Antarctic, Riffenburgh, Beau, ed. (New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 668-9. Details
  • Swan, R. A., 'Neumayer, Georg Balthasar von (1826-1909), scientist, magnetician, hydrographer, oceanographer and meteorologist' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Douglas Pike, ed., vol. 5 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1974), pp. 329-331. http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050377b.htm. Details
  • Wiederkehr, K. H., 'Georg Neumayer und die Grundung eines geophysikalisch-nautischen Observatoriums in Melbourne, 1857' in Past, Present and Future Trends in Geophysical Research: Selected Papers from the Symposia of the interdivisional Commission on History of IAGA during the IUGG Assembly, held in Vancouver, 1987, Wilfried Schroder, ed. (Bremen: 1987). Details

Edited Books

  • Luedecke, Cornelia ed., Steps of Foundation of Institutionalized Antarctic Research: Proceedings of the 1st SCAR Workshop on the History of Antarctic Research, Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Munich (Germany), 2-3 June 2005 (Bremerhaven: Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, 2007), 560 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'Dr Neumayer's Projekt zur Wissenschaftlichen Erforschung Central-Australiens', Petermanns Georgaphische Mettheilungen (1868), 442-453. Details
  • Barnard, F. G. A., 'Journeys of Dr. Neumayer in Victoria 1859-64', Victorian Naturalist, 34 (1918), 185-200. Details
  • Barton, Charles, Morrison, Douglas and Hitchman, Adrian, 'Georg von Neumayer's Legacy in Geomagnetism', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 123 (2011), 62-9. Details
  • Clark, Barry A. J., 'Influences of German science and scientists on Melbourne Observatory', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 127 (1) (2015), 43-58, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RS15004. Details
  • Gillespie, Richard, 'Georg Neumayer and Melbourne Observatory: an Institutional Legacy', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 123 (2011), 19-26. Details
  • Kenyon, A. S., 'Extracts From the Diary of Dr Neumayer, in His 'The Story of the Mallee'', Victorian Historical Magazine, 4 (1914), 64-70. Details
  • Lüdecke, Cornelia, 'Lamont's seed: Georg von Neumayer's interest in magnetism, meteorology and astronomy [abstract]', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 127 (1) (2015), 98, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RS15010. Details
  • Meidl, Eva and Quilty, P. G., 'Georg von Neumayer (1826-1909) in Tasmanien', Zeitschrift fur Australienstudien e.V., Newsletter, 9 (2013), 63-75. Details
  • Morrison, Doug, '140 Years Ago: Neumayer and a Meteorite', Preview: Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 111 (2004), 52. Details
  • Morrison, Doug, 'Neumayer: Pioneer Exploration Geophysicist [1]', Preview: Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 121 (April) (2006), 21-24. Details
  • Morrison, Doug, 'Neumayer: Pioneer Exploration Geophysicist [2]', Preview: Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 122 (June) (2006), 12-15. Details
  • Morrison, Doug, 'Neumayer: Pioneer Exploration Geophysicist [3]', Preview: Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 123 (August) (2006), 17-20. Details
  • Morrison, Doug, 'Neumayer: Pioneer Exploration Geophysicist [4]', Preview: Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 124 (October) (2006), 12-15. Details
  • Morrison, Doug, 'Neumayer: Pioneer Exploration Geophysicist [5]', Preview: Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, 125 (December) (2006), 34-36, 38. Details
  • Morrison, Douglas, 'Georg Neumayer's Magnetic Survey of the Colony of Victoria 1858-1864', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 123 (2011), 48-61. Details
  • Morton, Anne M., 'Special Centennial Anniversary Symposium Issue Commemorating Georg von Neumayer, His Australian, German and Polar Scientific Achievements and Legacies', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 123 (2011), vi-viii, 1-136. Details
  • Neumayer, G., 'Description and system of working at the Flagstaff Observatory', Transactions of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria, 3 (1859), 94-103. Details
  • Neumayer, G., 'Address to the Royal Soc. Tasmania', Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania (1864), 30-31. Details
  • Pullin, V. R., 'Eugene von Guérard and Georg Neumayer: Recorded Journeys', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 123 (2011), 122-31. Details
  • Quilty, Patrick G., 'Georg Neumayer (1826-1909) in Tasmania, 1864', Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 141 (2) (2007), 203-212. Details
  • Schlechter, Armin, 'Georg Neumayer und die Gedächtnisfeier für Alexander von Humboldt im Jahr 1859 in Melbourne', Mitteilungen des Historischen Vereins der Pfalz, 109 (2011), 1107-28. Details
  • Schröder, W., Wiederkehr, K.-H., and Schlegel, K., 'Georg von Neumayer and Geomagnetic Research', History of Geo- and Space Sciences, 1 (2010), 77-87. Details
  • Wiederkehr, K. H., 'Alexander von Humboldt und Georg von Neumayers geophysikalisches Projekt in Australien', Mitteilungen Arbeitskreis Geschichte der Geophysik in der Deutschen Geophysikalischen Gesellschaft, 7 (October) (1988), 1-24. Details
  • Wiederkehr, K. H. and Schroder, W., 'Georg von Neumayers geophysikalisches Projekt in Australien und Alexander von Humboldt', Gesnerus, 46 (1989), 83-115. Details

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Digital resources

Title
Neumayer, Georg Balthasar von
Type
Image

Details

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn