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Biographical entry Simpson, Edward Sydney (1875 - 1939)

11 March 1875
Woollaha, New South Wales, Australia
30 August 1939
Mineralogist and Chemist


Edward Simpson, having just completed his BE in mining and metallurgy at the University of Sydney, was appointed the inaugural mineralogist and assayer to the Geological Survey of Western Australia in 1897. He was given control of the combined laboratories of the Health, Agriculture and Mines Departments in 1922 and these became the Government Chemical Laboratories. He was awarded a DSc by the University of Western Australia in 1919. His major monograph, the definitive Minerals of Western Australia was completed after his death by others and published in three volumes in 1948, 1951 and 1952. His research on Western Australia's gold deposits, rare minerals and ceramics was of vital importance to the development to the State's economy. His collection of over 5,000 mineral specimens, which served as a major reference on the minerals of Western Australia, is now housed in the Western Australian Museum. Simpson served terms as President of the Natural History and Science Society of Western Australia and the Royal Society of Western Australia.



Education - Bachelor of Engineering (hons), University of Sydney
1897 - 1922
Career position - Mineralogist and Assayer, Geological Survey of Western Australia
1902 - 1915
Career position - Member, Advisory Board, Kalgoorlie School of Mines
1909 - 1913
Career position - Founding Member, Natural History and Science Society of Western Australia
1911 - 1912
Career position - President, Natural History and Science Society of Western Australia
1913 - 1939
Career position - Founding Member, Royal Society of Western Australia
Education - BSc (hons), University of Western Australia
1914 - 1918
Career position - Director, 18-pounder Shell Factory, Western Australia
1917 - 1939
Award - Life Fellow, Chemical Society of London
Education - DSc, University of Western Australia
1920 - 1921
Career position - President, Royal Society of Western Australia
1921 - 1926
Career position - Member of the Senate, University of Western Australia
1922 - ?
Career position - Government Mineralogist and Analyst, Government of Western Australia
1926 - 1939
Award - Fellow Mineralogical Society of America
Career position - Western Australian Representative, Committee of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Award - Medal of the Royal Society of Western Australia
Award - H. G. Smith Memorial Medal, Royal Australian Chemical Institute
Award - Clarke Medal, Royal Society of New South Wales
1935 - 1939
Career position - Trustee, Western Australian Museum and Art Gallery
1938 - 1939
Career position - President, Royal Society of Western Australia
Career position - Assayer, engineer and chemist, Mount Morgan Gold Mining Co., Queensland

Related Awards

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

State Records Office of Western Australia

  • Edward Sydney Simpson - Records, 1896 - 1939, ACC 2776, AN 539; State Records Office of Western Australia. Details

Western Australian Museum

  • Edward Sydney Simpson - Records, 1900 - 1939; Western Australian Museum. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Book Sections

Conference Papers

  • Laporte, L. F., 'Australia's Place in Simpson's Biogeography', in Useful and Curious Geological Enquiries beyond the World: Pacific-Asia Historical Themes: The 19th International INHIGEO Symposium, Sydney, Australia, 4-8 July, 1994 edited by D. F. Branagan and G. H. McNally (Sydney: International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences, 1994), pp. 7-13.. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'Obituary: Dr. E. S. Simpson', Australian Journal of Science, 2 (2) (1939), 50. Details
  • Bevan, A. W. R., 'The Western Australian Museum Meteorite collection', Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 256 (2006), 305-23. Details
  • Bevan, A. W. R. and Downes, P. J., 'Mineralogy at the Western Australian Museum', Australian Journal of Mineralogy, 6 (2) (2000), 93-100. Details
  • Hall, Edgar and Simpson, Edward S., 'The Russell Process (of Silver Lixiviation) in Australia', Report of the Seventh Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, 7 (1898), 307-327. Details


McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn