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Biographical entry Birch, William David (Bill) (1949 - )


3 April 1949


William Birch joined the staff of the National Museum of Victoria (later Museum Victoria) in 1973 as Curator of Minerals with responsibility for curating and developing the Museum's geological collection. He acquired for the Museum a number of significant historical and research collections, including those of the Geological Survey of Victoria, the University of Melbourne, and a number of collections from individuals. Under his curatorship, the Museum's geological collections became recognised internationally for the excellence of their curation and potential for research. Birch's research interests centre on the analysis and identification of rocks, minerals and meteorites particularly from Victoria and Broken Hill (N.S.W.). This has resulted in the description of over 35 minerals new to science and the publication of over 220 books and scientific papers. Birch has been an office-bearer and President of geological and other scientific societies in Australia, and represented Australia on the International Mineralogical Association. The mineral Birchite, from Broken Hill, was named in his honour in 2008.



1973 - 1974
Career position - Curator of Minerals, National Museum of Victoria
1974 - 2013
Career position - Senior Curator, Geosciences (Mineralogy and Petrology), Museum of Victoria
Education - PhD, The University of Melbourne
1976 - 1985
Career position - Co-editor, Australian Mineralogist
1977 - 1979
Career position - President, Museums Association. Victorian Branch
1977 - 1980
Career position - Treasurer, Geological Society of Australia (Victoria Division),
Career position - Vice-President, Friends of the National Museum of Victoria
1981 - 1987
Career position - Vice-President, Mineralogical Society of Victoria
1983 - 1987
Career position - Visiting Research Fellow, Geology Department, University of Melbourne
1984 - 1998
Career position - Australian Representative, International Mineralogical Association Commission of New Minerals and Mineral Names
1984 - 2008
Career position - Australian Representative, International Mineralogical Association
1987 - 1989
Career position - Honorary Associate, Geology Department, University of Melbourne
1987 - 1989
Career position - Chairman, Geological Society of Australia (Victorian Division)
1989 -
Career position - Associate Editor, The Mineralogical Record
1995 -
Career position - Editorial board member, Australian journal of mineralogy
1996 - 2012
Career position - Council member, Royal Society of Victoria
1998 - 2008
Career position - Secretary, International Mineralogical Association Commission of New Minerals and Mineral Names
Award - Selwyn Medal, Geological Society of Australia (Victorian Division)
2000 -
Career position - Honorary Senior Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne
Award - Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to geological science, particularly through the study and documentation of the geology of Victoria, and to a range of professional organisations
2013 -
Career position - Research Associate, Geosciences, Museum Victoria
Life event - Retired
2013 - 2017
Career position - President, Royal Society of Victoria

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Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Birch, W. D. and Henry, D.A., 'The geology collections of Museum Victoria, Melbourne', Australian Journal of Mineralogy, 6 (2) (2000), 83-91. Details
  • Birch, William D. and Darragh, Thomas A., 'George Henry Frederick Ulrich (1830 - 1900): pioneer mineralogist and geologist in Victoria', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 127 (1) (2015), 17-38, Details
  • Henry, D. A. and Birch, W. D., 'Mineral collections in Australian museums', National Science Museum Monographs, 34 (2006), 1-8. Details
  • Henry, Dermot A, 'Who's who in mineral names: William "Bill" David Birch (b. 1949)', Rocks and Minerals, 86 (3) (2011), 273-6. Details


Helen Cohn