JACK, Felicity. Putting Queensland on the Map. The Life of Robert Logan Jack Geologist & Explorer. Sydney: Kyodo Printing for University of South Wales Press Ltd, 2008.
4to (280 x 228mm). Original printed boards, illustrated endpapers, CD mounted on lower pastedown, dustwrapper; pp. ix, [1 (portrait)], 275, [3 (blank)]; frontispiece map, illustrations and maps in the text, many full-page; fine.
First edition. Robert Logan Jack (1845-1921) was born in Scotland and educated at the Irvine Academy and at the University of Edinburgh. In 1867 he joined the Geological Survey of Scotland, working with Sir Archibald Geikie and making significant contributions to Scottish geology. In 1876 he was appointed Geological Surveyor for northern Queensland, becoming Government Geologist for the colony in 1879, and President of the Royal Society of Queensland in 1894. In 1899 he resigned his position and travelled to China to undertake geological investigations for an English company; on the outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion, Jack and his son escaped to Burma through some 450 miles of uncharted and mountainous territory, and he later published The Back Blocks of China: a Narrative of Experiences among the Chinese, Sifans, Lolos, Tibetans, Shans and Kachins, between Shanghai and the Irrawadi (London: 1904), before returning to Australia. However, it is for his important contributions to Australian geology that Jack is best known: his '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' (Australian Dictionary of Biography (online), s.n.). Amongst Jack's publications are The Geology and Palaeontology of Queensland and New Guinea (Brisbane: 1892) and Northmost Australia (London: 1921). The present biography by Jack's great-granddaughter is based on family collections of Jack's manuscripts, maps, and other archival material, and includes a CD with full transcripts of family letters between 1877 and 1915.