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Hugh Davis obituary; The father of PNG geology

· 424 words, 4 min read

Hugh Lucius Davies, AO, OL, the father of geology in Papua New Guinea, has passed away at the age of 89. In 2005 he received the Order of the Logohu (OL) from the PNG Government for services to geological education and disaster relief. In 2006, he received the Michael T. Halbouty Human Needs Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, also for services to geological education and disaster relief. In 2018, Hugh was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished services to Australia-Papua New Guinea relations in the area of geological sciences and to education as an academic, author and researcher. He was an AusIMM member until 2022.

Hugh held a number of leadership roles in government, industry and the community, including Chief Government Geologist of the newly formed PNG Geological Survey from 1973 to 1981, Executive Manager of the (also) newly formed Geological Survey Division at the Mineral Resources Authority from 2007 to 2009. He was a member and leader of the team responsible for producing 11 of the 22 1:250,000 geological map with explanatory notes covering PNG. He founded and was Chairman of the National Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Committee from 1999 to 2007. In 2001, he founded and became inaugural director of Centre for Disaster Reduction at the University of PNG (UPNG). H was the first Managing Director of Ok Tedi Development Company and first Executive Manager of Geological Survey Division of Mineral Resources Authority.

Hugh Davis taught and mentored so many young geologists in Papua New Guinea, creating and leading the Earth Science Department of The University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), making it to be competitive in the world and earning him the title of Father of Geology in Papua New Guinea.

He authored several books, including “Earth Tok” [2014]. Professor Davis's research output was prolific, with over 100 academic papers on PNG’s geology. One of Hugh Davis geological papers can be downloaded via the AusIMM Digital Library;

Paleomagnetic Constraints on Terrane Tectonic in New Guinea

By Davies H, Pigram C, Sunata W, Falvey D, Loxton C, Giddings J, Rogerson R

PALAEOMAGNETIC CONSTRAINTS ON TERRANE TECTONICS IN NEW GUINEA Chris Klootwijkl), John Giddingsl), Wahyu Sunata2), Chris Pigraml), Charles Loxton3), Hugh Daviesl), Rick Rogerson3) and David Falveyl) 1

Hugh’s “retirement” consisted of working every day on his latest research on PNG geology, helping his former students with research and study opportunities, and connecting with colleagues from PNG and other countries. This continued up until two days before his death on Friday 26 April 2024.

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