Past GSAQ medal recipients - image courtesy GSAQ

2002 Neville Stevens Medal Winner

Mr Warwick Willmott
Warwick Willmott's Citation - presented by Neville Stevens

Warwick has given outstanding service to the GSAQ committee over the past 15 years by curating the Division's stock of publications. He has also edited two field conference guides for the Queensland Division as well as being a contributor. His contributions to increasing public awareness of geology have been in writing booklets and notes which draw attention to the relationships between geology and scenery. He started the successful "Rocks and Landscape "series with a booklet on the Gold Coast hinterland, now in its second edition. He took a leading part in the authorship and production of three other books of the series and the same may be said of the "Rock and Landscape notes " which are distributed free to the public.

Warwick has also been prominent in preservation of significant geological sites (Geological monuments), being on the sub-committee since its inception, and chairman from 1980 for several years. He was contributor and joint editor of several of the reports on Geological Sites funded by Commonwealth Government grants under the National Estates program. Warwick is also largely responsible for classification of sites, and proposed legislation for protection of minor sites. He has also compiled a report on Geological Sites in Brisbane, being nomination for the Brisbane Conservation Atlas on behalf of the Queensland Division, and has given many talks to groups interested in the environment.

Response of thanks by Warwick Willmott
I first met Neville when he was lecturing me on dramatic landscapes formed by glaciers and volcanoes, which we don't have in Queensland. I then went away down south and overseas for a while and I didn't see Neville again until the early seventies when I came back to Queensland. At the time the profession was very clearly heading towards the mining boom and the petroleum boom and Neville was probably one of the few who was maintaining an interest and contact with the broader community and trying to communicate geological concepts to the broader community. And gradually I saw what he was doing and I got interested in it myself, I could see there was value there.

Neville Stevens outlining Warwick Willmott's contributions to geological education.

Warwick Willmott delivering his acceptance speech.
My interest heightened later on gradually through my government work in various lanes of geology and land use planning and it was obvious that there was a high demand out there in the community for geological information in a form that the general public would understand. And it didn't have to be tourist information brochure stuff but also serious earth science stuff, but in a language that the general public could understand and could use. So I started getting involved in writing booklets as Neville has said, the Rocks and Landscapes books and a few other colleagues got going with me on that. David Tresize helped a lot. Laurie Hutton in the education sub-committee did some work in high school level, teacher level and there was other people like John Stephenson in North Queensland who did a bit of that at work.

I just like to say that there is still a tremendous demand out there for that sort of information and the other day I had a phone call from a town planning consultant who wanted to know if there is a Rocks & Landscapes booklet on Emerald Shire, because he wanted to sell it through the Emerald Shire and so he could use it in the planning scheme. I had to say no there's not. I had to refer him to the standard BMR geological mapping report. I have long had a feeling that our profession in Australia is not interacting with the community as much as it does in Europe or in North America. I think we should be examining our role in this and moving that way. I think if the science is to survive in a vigorous and vital way in Australia it has to demonstrate to the community that it is useful to the community. We must explain that its got influence on landscapes, on types of soil that you are likely to build your house on, where you get your materials from, why mines quarry in a certain place.

This is somewhat difficult when you're not living on a stable continent and never the less we have to do it. And we have to do it on a whole range of fronts. And what myself and Neville have been doing is just one niche of providing information in written form. That's an act to be taken further, but there are other aspects of the relationship we are looking at; more interaction with the media, more explanation of what we do, how we can advantage the government decision-making.

So I'm pleased the Society has established this award, not because I got it, but because I think it's timely that the "efficient use" trend stopped and we made some sort of conscious decision to put all efforts into interactive exchange (with the public).

I'd like to thank the Society for their support, much appreciated and I'd just like to say in conclusion that, regarding the Neville Stevens book, Queensland Field Geology Guide published in 1984, there are only ten copies left for sale and they will soon be a rare book. They soon will be collector's items.

Thank you.