Five WA School of Mines Alumni were acknowledged at a the WASM Alumni Graduation Dinner in Kalgoorlie in recognition of graduating 50 years ago from the WA School of Mines.
Geoff Carroll, Cecil Pearson, Adrian May, Eugen Dombrose and Robert King graduated from the WA School of Mines in the 1967

Robert Maxwell (Max) King

I started studying at the WA School of Mines, when it was a part of the Department of Mines, in 1961 working part time as a cadet in the Mathematics and Physics Department. I graduated in 1967. During my studies I worked as technician at the WA School of Mines, manual arts teacher at Eastern Goldfields High School, design draughtsman and drilling engineer at Gold Mines of Kalgoorlie and drilling engineer at Western Mining Corporation Ltd. While at Western Mining I was in charge of the Western Deeps, Kalgoorlie Southern and Kambalda drilling projects.

In 1968 I started a drilling company (Max King Drilling until 1976). Up to the year 2000 I was part owner and ran a number of drilling companies, went prospecting, owned and ran gold mines, owned and ran an engine reconditioning business in Kalgoorlie and at one stage was a part time lecturer at the WA School of Mines. During this time I obtained a West Australian underground shift supervisor’s certificate of competency was awarded life membership of the Australian Prospector’s and Mining Hall of Fame and life member of the Australian Prospectors and Leaseholders Association Inc.

In 2000 I started a business Drilling Safety Services and then re-educated and obtained a diploma in occupational health and safety at Curtin University in Kalgoorlie, a diploma in drilling operations and an advanced diploma in drilling management.

In 2004 as well as running my business I was part time technical officer with the Australian Drilling Industry Training Committee Limited. During this time I wrote and carried out training sessions, audited other assessor’s assessments under the VET qualification system and re-wrote the Drilling manual, an 800 page manual of drilling methods and applications of all the drilling sectors.

I retired in 2015 but still do a bit of contracting in assessing and technical writing as well as woodworking.

 Geoff Carroll

Having achieved his Leaving Certificate at Eastern Goldfields High School Geoff Carroll was awarded a Chamber of Mines Scholarship to study for an Engineering Associateship at the School of Mines.

He commenced those studies in 1964 completing the first two years full time and the final two years at night classes whilst working full time as a draftsman at the Lake View and Star gold mining operation.

On completion of his course Geoff applied for and was awarded an 18 month Overseas Post Graduate Training Fellowship with the Large Steam Turbine division of Associated Electrical Industries at Trafford Park, Manchester in the UK. The program enabled time to be spent and experience gained in its various departments associated with the R&D, design, manufacturing, site erection and commissioning of steam turbines for power generation.

Prior to his return to Australia Geoff accepted an employment offer as a graduate engineer from Western Mining Corporation. This was the start of a 32 year career with that company.

The first 14 years were focused on maintenance management activities and included the roles of Assistant Engineer at Gold Mines of Kalgoorlie, Mechanical Engineer Milling and Power at Kalgoorlie Mining associates, and Mechanical Engineer Services and later Chief Engineer at Windarra Nickel Project.

In 1983 Geoff transferred to WMC Engineering Services in Perth as a Senior Project Engineer. He was responsible for the management of the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of various WMC operation expansion and optimisation projects. Projects included the new Stawell JV gold CIP plant.

In 1986 Geoff was seconded to Roxby Management Services in Adelaide as Chief Engineer Mechanical and Piping for the initial stage of the Olympic Dam Project. With the other discipline Chief Engineers the role was to overview the entire engineering input to design and ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements, and WMC Standards and Specifications. It concluded following construction and commissioning.

Geoff returned to his previous role at WMC Engineering Services in 1989 and amongst other projects was responsible for a $55M nickel refinery upgrade and optimisation project.

In 1995 he transferred to WMC Talc Division as Manager Technology and Engineering based in Amsterdam. Geoff was involved in the establishment of a talc milling facility in Amsterdam, a joint venture acquisition and subsequent optimisation of three large talc mining and processing operations in Finland, in industrial product development activities and feasibility/acquisition studies.

In 1999 on return to Australia he accepted a position based in WMC Melbourne as Manager Technology – Industrial Minerals.

In 2001 Geoff left WMC prior to its acquisition by BHP with a so far unfulfilled intention of semi-retirement.

He has subsequently assisted in the design of a new technology lignite drying demonstration plant proposed by Sir Rod Carnegie but now shelved. He spends a large portion of his time providing design management, project management and other technical services to a Melbourne developer/builder involved in large industrial, commercial and upmarket residential property activities.

Cecil A L Pearson AWASM, THC, Grad Dip App Physics, Grad Dip Administration, M Bus, Ph D

Within a year of completing the Kalgoorlie School of Mines examinations Cecil had resigned from the W A Ministry of Education and joined the W A Government Railways where he was employed for the next 25 years. During the first half of this time he was in field operations, the last decade as the District Engineer at Geraldton, Narrogin and Northam in a period when he completed his Masters Degree at Curtin University. The following years were in Executive Management positions at the East Perth Head office, during which time he earned his Ph D at the University of W A . In 1992 Cecil joined the Business School of Murdoch University where he taught undergraduate and post graduate management related programmes at both the Murdoch campus and the Rockingham site as well as off shore courses in universities of Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. Retirement commenced at the close of 2002, but by March in the following year an invitation to join Curtin University to supervise post graduate research students in the School of Management, to be the Editor an international human resources Journal, and the opportunity to attend international conferences on the Asian and East European continents had been accepted. During mid 2007 an invitation was made by the international mining corporation Alcan to assist with an inaugural Indigenous education and vocation programme, that was conducted at Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula of East Arnhem land in the Northern Territory; a request continuously supported by Curtin University. The initial visit necessitated the creation of a tool for assessing the employability of Australian Indigenous women and men who lacked a work history with deficits in English literacy and numeracy, while the progression of two programmes a year called for numerous visits to the region when Rio Tinto was the resident mining and refinery operator. Final retirement supposedly came in December 2012, but in 2015 a request from regional Indigenous organisations to participate in a pilot training scheme with Indigenous Yolngu women and men, who had not previously worked, led to visits to remote homeland communities some 200 km south east of Nhulunbuy, hamlets that are closed to non Indigenous people. Success of this initiative led to a request by the Gumatj Corporation to again visit the region in early 2017 to give instruction to chosen Clan members how to assess the employability of Indigenous people with English literacy and numeracy deficits, as those selected would be employed in the first Australian Indigenous owned and operated open cut bauxite mine in East Arnhem Land. An extensive literature records many of these accounts, an outcome unlikely to have been possible without the continuing support of wife Jill, and today they together live in suburban Perth.

Eugene Dombrose

Fifty years ago, the lives and plans of many of Australia’s young men were interrupted by a policy of conscription intended to provide troops for another senseless war from which very little was learnt. I thank WASM for providing a qualification that facilitated the transition back to civilian life and helped avoid the problems still being experienced by many veterans of that era. Having a qualification valued by the mining industry provided a platform for a fulfilling career that continues to this day.

My metallurgical career commenced in 1966 with Western Mining Corporation and apart from a couple of two-year absences, continued with that company until the end of 1998. Over these thirty or so years I worked in many places and on many projects but my most enjoyable and fulfilling appointment was in this very town as Metallurgical Superintendent of KMA’s Oroya Mill, the largest gold producer in Australia at the time. After KMA was taken over by Alan Bond, I was transferred to Perth in the position of Chief Metallurgist, WMC Engineering Services. Thanks to the experience gained at WMC and my WASM qualification, I was able to start my own consultancy which is currently in its 19th year of operation.

Thanks also to WASM for this 50 Year Graduation initiative that not only provides an opportunity for reunion, but also a second chance to participate in a ceremony that was missed all that time ago.

Adrian May

I graduated from WASM in Dec 1967 with a Diploma in Engineering.

Before and after graduation I worked at Gold Mines of Kalgoorlie as a draftsman where good experience was gained designing and drawing projects underground and in the treatment plants of the mine.

In 1969 I moved to Perth where I worked as a design draftsman for consultants Crooks, Michell, Peacock and Stewart on the Mt Newman tertiary crusher station and WMC workshops. Later, I worked on Hammersley Iron’s East Intercourse Island Project.

Between Jan 1971 and 1974 I had a working holiday in the UK, working mostly for Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers and Simon Carves.

My wife Desleigh and myself were married at Wimbledon in 1973. Early in 1974 we came to Perth where I was a student (mostly part time) at WAIT (now Curtin Uni), graduating with a BSc in 1980. After this I did part time studies at UWA, completing a MEng St degree in 1988.

During the time of studies at WAIT I worked for some consultants and WMC as an engineer.

After graduation at WAIT (and during studies at UWA) I continued to work at WMC as a civil/structural engineer on many projects of WMC’s operations (total 18 years at WMC).

In Sept 1996 our family moved to Brisbane for 18 months where I worked with McIntyres. On return to Perth in 1998 I worked for many years as a senior structural/civil engineer for consultants Clough, Bechtel, SKM, Connell Wagner and HBH Consultants. From Oct 2007 to Dec 2008 I was principal civil/structural engineer for TWP Australia, working on the Leinster Deeps upgrade until the project was cancelled by BHP. From 2009 to 2013 I worked for Chevron, United Group and Macmahon. Since mid 2013 I have been in semi-retirement, working on some small jobs for consultants.

Author: WASMA

The history of the Western Australian School of Mines Alumni (WASMA) reflects the ups and downs of the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) and the role it has played in supporting graduates in a range of activities and events. It also describes the important role that graduates have played in ensuring WASM remains in Kalgoorlie. Learn more.