Sir Laurence Brodie-Hall

1910-2006

Laurence Brodie-Hall, or ‘Brodie’ as he was invariably called, was born in London in 1910 and migrated to Australia in 1924. He worked as a farm-hand, ran a garage and then became an underground miner. After shift work in Kalgoorlie he went to the Emperor Mine in Fiji in 1939, but when World War II broke out he returned to Western Australia as Plant Superintendent at Baileys Mine at Coolgardie. Brodie enlisted as a sapper in the Royal Australian Engineers and by the end of the war he had risen to the rank of Captain in the 2/2nd Mechanical Equipment Company.

When demobilised he returned to Kalgoorlie and completed Mining and Metallurgy Diplomas at the WA School of Mines, then became a junior mine geologist at Norseman. He then moved to Melbourne as Technical Assistant to Sir Lindesay Clark. In 1951 Brodie he became General Superintendent at the Bullfinch mine. In 1958 he was promoted to WMC’s General Superintendent in WA, and in 1962 he became an Executive Director. In this role he directed the considerable broadening of WMC’s operations including the major expansion of Gold Mines of Kalgoorlie, re-opening of the Mount Charlotte mine, the formation of Three Springs Talc, Alcoa of Australia and the Geraldton Iron Ore Joint Venture, which led to Australia’s first shipment of iron ore in 1966. It was due to his encouragement and support that WMC discovered nickel sulphides at Kambalda in 1966. The rapid establishment of Kambalda Nickel Operations in 1967, the Kwinana Nickel Refinery in 1970 and the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter in 1972 were among his major achievements.

In 1967 Brodie moved to Perth where he involved himself increasingly in industry and community affairs. He was President of the WA Chamber of Mines from 1970 to 1974, a member of the Australian Mining Industry Council and President of AusIMM in 1973. He was awarded the Institute Medal in 1976 and Honourary Life Membership in 1988. He served on many Government and Advisory bodies. He received the WA Citizen of the Year Award in 1974, was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1976, created a Knight Bachelor in 1982, was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1993.

Following his retirement as an Executive Director of WMC in 1975, Brodie retained his position on boards of WMC and Alcoa of Australia for a further seven years. He was Chairman or a director of several public and non-listed companies until 1985. Brodie was Chairman of the Board of Management of WASM for a long period and also served on the Council of the Western Australian Institute of Technology, which became Curtin University.


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