Sir George Fisher
Sir George Fisher spent 50 years in the Australian mining industry, and was Chairman of Mount Isa Mines (MIM) Limited during the company’s major expansion of copper and silver-lead-zinc production in the 1950s and 1960s. He helped develop Mount Isa from a small town to a major inland city.
George was born in South Australia and received his formal education there. In 1925, he graduated from Adelaide University with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mining. From 1925-1951, he worked at Broken Hill, and before leaving for Mount Isa had become the President of the Mining Managers Association and General Manager and Director of Zinc Corporation Ltd. In 1952, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of MIM Limited and became Chairman the following year. In 1970, he retired from that position and was appointed President and a Director of MIM Holdings Limited, the new company formed to coordinate the activities of the Mount Isa group.
George was created a Knight Bachelor in 1967. He was President of the AusIMM on three separate occasions, and was awarded the Institute Medal in 1958 and the Gold Medal of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy, London in 1964.
When James Cook University became autonomous in 1971, George was appointed the first Chancellor, a position he held until his retirement in 1974. He was the inaugural President of the Australian Mining Industry Council in 1967. He was awarded the Kernot Memorial Medal in 1969 for distinguished engineering achievement in Australia, and the John Storey Medal in 1972 for his distinguished contribution to the development of management in Australia.
In 1998 MIM Ltd announced the new George Fisher mine – a zinc, silver and lead prospect next to the Hilton mine about 20 kilometres north of Mount Isa. This gave George the keenest pleasure, especially as he had put in the first teams to drill and explore the Hilton area. In 2000, aged 97, he travelled to Mount Isa for the formal opening of the mine. His interest in the progress of those workings continued for the remainder of his life.
George set very high ethical standards for himself from his earliest years, and he lived by those standards all his life. He was always thoughtful and charitable towards others. He passed away in 2007, aged 104.
The Sir George Fisher Lecture series was initiated in 1977 by the AusIMM North Queensland Branch and endowed with a grant by MIM Holdings Limited. The lecture, held annually, is in recognition of the contribution made by Sir George Fisher to the development of North Queensland in general and Townsville in particular.