Austin Burton Edwards


Austin Burton (‘Abe’) Edwards graduated from the University of Melbourne (BSc, DSc) and Imperial College (PhD).

His geological studies were wide ranging and included significant contributions to topics such as Victorian brown coals and Australian iron ores. In 1934 he joined Frank Stillwell at the CSIR Mineral Investigations Unit and their studies of Australian ores extended to mill products and mill tailings, and eventually to smelter products such as mattes and slags. This area of work was economically important because it could be used to improve plant results. The partnership Abe formed with Frank continued for 26 years and their output of reports, technical papers, conference proceedings and summaries of technology has been prodigious.

In 1946 Abe gave a series of lectures on mineragraphy and ore textures and from these came the book entitled Textures of the Ore Minerals, which was published by the AusIMM in 1947. The first edition sold quickly and a new and enlarged edition was published in 1954 and reprinted in 1960. In 1953, a symposium he organised reviewed the geology of Australian ore deposits and a comprehensive volume of papers was published. In 1953 he became Officer-in-Charge of CSIRO Mineragraphic Investigations after the retirement of Frank Stillwell and continued in this role until his sudden death in 1960.  Abe was an accomplished footballer, winning a half blue at the University of Melbourne and in later years training the University Thirds team for several years.

This profile was adapted from a memorial written by Frank L Stillwell and published in The American Mineralogist (vol 46, March-April 1961).

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