Leonard Keith Ward - image courtesy Department of Mineral Resources, Tasmania.

Earth Science History Award

Tom Vallance Medal

The Tom Vallance Medal was introduced in 2011 to recognize people who have made a significant contribution to researching, recording, investigating, documenting and/or publishing about people or places or events of historical importance to the geological sciences in Australia or Australasia. It will be awarded biennially, and be presented at the biennial Convention of the Geological Society of Australia (or similar event).

Dr Thomas George Vallance (1928–1993), geologist and historian of science, was formerly Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. Originally a petrologist, his work tracing geological expertise in Sydney during the late 18th and early 19th centuries shed unexpected light on scientific activity in our young colony and ignited his interest in the history of geology and early workers in the earth sciences. He researched and published many articles and papers on famous, infamous and little-known early pioneers in this field. His legacy was in the form of 3000 index cards of information, memorabilia and jottings on miners, geologists, surveyors, prospectors and mining engineers, which was compiled over a number of years and gathered from a wide variety of sources - especially from 19th century mining journals. After his death this rich resource was compiled into a database, which should prove invaluable for researchers. The 1994 meeting of INHIGEO was dedicated to the memory of Tom Vallance, a foundation member and for some years one of its Vice-Presidents. The ESHG is proud that its award should bear the name the Tom Vallance Medal.

Past Tom Vallance Medal Recipients

  • 2021, Barry Cooper, presented at the AGCC 2021;
  • 2018, Sue Turner, presented at the AGCC 2018;
  • 2016, Tom Darragh, announced at AESC2016 in Adelaide and presented at a meeting of the Victorian Division on 28 July 2016;
  • 2014, David Oldroyd, presented at AESC2014 in Newcastle;
  • 2012, David Branagan, presented at the 34th IGC 2012.

Nominations for the 2023 awards to be presented at the AESC in Perth in June 2023 will close on 29 February 2023

Click here to download a nomination form
(Microsoft Word Document)