Past GSAQ medal recipients - image courtesy GSAQ

2014 Neville Stevens Medal Winner

Dr Michael Rubenach
Michael Rubenach's Citation

After completing his PhD in Tasmania, Michael joined James Cook University in 1972 as a senior tutor in Geology, and has since made an enormous contribution to Earth Science education in Queensland. Over the last 4 decades, Mike has risen through the ranks to Senior Lecturer, and today remains an active adjunct staff member in geology at JCU.


Michael Rubenach (left) receiving the NC Stevens Medal from Ian Withnall (right).

Mike’s foremost contributions have been to teaching undergraduate and postgraduate university students, but throughout his career, Mike has also undertaken Earth Science training for school teachers, school students, industry representatives and other academics from across the globe.

With his unfaltering passion for geology, Mike has always relished the opportunity for field work, and would regularly run voluntary weekend field excursions for geology students, visiting academics or industry geologist to sites across North Queensland. He has organised and run five conference field trips (mostly under the auspices of GSA) in the Mount Isa Inlier or in north-east Queensland, and has served several terms as treasurer or secretary for both the SGGMP and SGTSG of the Geological Society of Australia.

Mike has taught all levels of undergraduate geology classes for students taking science, geology and engineering degrees.  Most of these subject were lecture and practical class based, but Mike also ran and taught the 17-day long 3rd year field mapping class over a period of 35 years from 1973-2007. During this time he also served as academic advisor for students in the Geology school. Mike has supervised over 40 honours students, 3 MSc research students, and 9 PhD students, most of whom worked on projects on north Queensland geology. In addition Mike regularly provided help and mentoring for literally hundreds of other research students who have passed through JCU over the last 40 years.


As well as his teaching contribution, Mike has been an active researcher in metamorphic petrology and tectonics, and has promoted the geology of Queensland through publication of research papers in international journals and presentations at national and international conferences.  Last year, Mike published a chapter in a book on metasomatism that showcases much of the unique geology of the Mt Isa region.

Since his retirement in 2008, Mike has continued to contribute to Earth science education through teaching geology to first-year engineering students, and metamorphic petrology and field training to second and third year geology students. He remains an integral part of the geology team at JCU. He is currently engaged in writing a textbook on igneous and metamorphic rocks, and is continuing research work on igneous and metamorphic rocks of the Charters Towers and Chillagoe regions.