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Biographical entry Williams, George Kenneth (1896 - 1974)

21 February 1896
Tarnagulla, Victoria, Australia
6 April 1974
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Mechanical engineer, Metallurgist and Mining engineer


George Kenneth Williams developed the continuous refining practice for which Port Pirie became famous. He began work in 1921 on the desilverising process and then progressively changed all the other batch refining operations to single team continuous processes by 1935. He then undertook plant scale research that led to the development of a single blast furnace to handle the entire throughput.


Educated University of Melbourne (BME 1920, MME 1925). DEng. Research from 1920 on development of new continuous process of refining lead, resulting in complete remodelling of plant at Port Pirie Lead Refinery; responsible for reorganisation of roast sintering plant and development of lead blast furnaces; Works Manager, Broken Hill Associated Smelters Pty Ltd 1942-48; Metallurgical Consultant, Imperial Smelting Corporation, England, from 1948. Bronze Medal, Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy 1942; Gold Medal, Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, London 1951.


Award - Kernot Memorial Medal, for distinguished engineering achievement in Australia. Faculty of Engineering, University of Melbourne

Related Awards

Published resources


  • Cumming, D. A.; Moxham, G. C., They built South Australia : engineers, technicians, manufacturers, contractors and their work (Adelaide: D.A. Cumming and G.C Moxham, 1986), 241 pp. pp.198-9. Details

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See also

Rosanne Walker