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JACK, ROBERT LOGAN (1845-1921), geologist and explorer, was born on 16 September 1845 at Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland. Educated at the Irvine Academy and at the University of Edinburgh, he joined the Geological Survey of Scotland in 1867 and by 1876 had contributed greatly to Scottish geology by mapping the coalfields. In 1876 Jack was appointed geological surveyor for northern Queensland and arrived at Townsville in 1877. In 1879 Jack became government geologist for the whole colony. He was president of the geological section for the first meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science in 1888, and president of the Royal Society of Queensland in 1894. Jack's geological work for Queensland is outstanding in both quality and quantity and remarkable for its accurate and detailed observation. His recognition of the basinal structure of western Queensland and its potential for artesian water led to the first government bore in the Great Artesian Basin being sunk at Barcaldine in 1887. He personally mapped and appraised the Bowen River coalfield and coal prospects near Cooktown, Townsville and the Flinders River, and reported on twelve goldfields including Mount Morgan, Charters Towers and the Palmer as well as the Stanthorpe and four northern tinfields, the Argentine and other silver mines, the Chillagoe and Koorboora mining districts and the sapphire deposits of Withersfield. Many of his deductions have stood the tests of additional evidence, but his theory that the richly auriferous ores of Mount Morgan were deposited on a pre-desert sandstone landscape by a thermal spring has proved unacceptable. In collaboration with Robert Etheridge, who described the fossils, Jack brought all his previous work together and analysed it in The Geology and Palaeontology of Queensland and New Guinea, 3 vols (Brisbane, 1892). The two men had already collaborated in Catalogue of Works, Papers, Reports, and Maps, on the Geology, Palaeontology, Mineralogy, Mining and Metallurgy, etc. of the Australian Continent and Tasmania (London, 1881). Jack published several other shorter compilations on the geology of Queensland, and in 1899 issued the final edition of his geological map of Queensland. In his last major publication, Northmost Australia, 2 vols (London, 1921), he gave detailed accounts of all the explorations of north Queensland, including his own. Many of his geological journeys were through unexplored country, especially Cape York Peninsula.
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