James Hebbard (Jim) Whitehead


Jim joined the AusIMM as a student in 1947. After graduating with a Diploma in Mining from RMIT in 1952, he worked in brown coal mining with the State Electricity Commission (SEC) in the Latrobe Valley. In 1954 he married and moved to the Zinc Corporation at Broken Hill. He then joined Ingersoll Rand in Melbourne and at various times managed their rock drill, mining and construction and underground mining departments and then oversaw the special projects and operations unit in Papua New Guinea. From 1983 he ran his own consultancy.

He held many positions within AusIMM and was a Councillor from 1982 until 1990. He acted as Electoral Officer for many years and became the inaugural Chairman of the Mineral Heritage Committee in 1984, retaining this position until his death in 2007. He was appointed a Trustee of the Australasian Mineral Heritage Trust when it was set up in 1987.

He served on the National Committee of the Australian Underground Construction and Tunnelling Association until 2000 and was its Chairman from 1981 to 1984. He was Chairman of the organising committee of the Sixth Australian Tunnelling Conference held in Melbourne in 1987 and the Tenth Australian Tunnelling Conference in Melbourne in 1999. He was a member of the Mining School Advisory Committees at Ballarat University College and RMIT.

In 2005, his long commitment and service to AusIMM was recognised with the award of Honorary Fellowship. In this he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, James Hebbard, who was AusIMM President in 1913 and was made an Honorary Member in 1940. Jim was proud of the mining connections in his family history and arranged for donation of the extensive diaries of mine manager Richard Pope to the Latrobe Library.

Jim was active in organisations including Rotary, Freemasonry, the MCC (where he was a Guide for 15 years), Sovereign Hill, Friends of the SS Great Britain, Red Cross, the Barbarians and his local church. He was well known throughout the Australian mining, quarrying and construction industries, travelled widely in Australia and overseas and was greatly respected for his knowledge and integrity.

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