Honorary Citizenship awarded to Prof Warren Somerville AM
MEDIA RELEASE 27 July 2018
Professor Warren Somerville AM, collector and donator of the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum’s (AFMM) collection was awarded Honorary Citizen of Bathurst at a presentation on Thursday, 26 July.
Mayor Graeme Hanger OAM said the title of Honorary Citizen of Bathurst is awarded to people who are not citizens of Bathurst but who have contributed beyond the call of duty to the city.
“Our community is a fortunate beneficiary of Prof Somerville’s expertise, commitment to quality, appreciation of natural beauty, and interest in conserving and showcasing some of the best of the best for our community and visitors to the region to enjoy,” he said.
“As well as his personal connection to Bathurst, we are recognising Prof Somerville’s generosity to our city”.
Prof Somerville AM grew up on his family property in Orange, NSW, where he has lived most of his life.
He began picking up interesting rocks when he was about five years old and began a field collection as he got older. He acquired degrees in which several of his studies focused on horticulture, engineering, thermodynamics, soil and environmental science and geology.
While studying geology he was introduced to Albert Chapman, a well-known Australian mineral collector, whose collection has its own gallery in the Australian Museum. As a mentor, Albert taught Prof Somerville AM how to build a world class collection and source quality specimens which resulted in a lasting collaboration and friendship.
As Prof Somerville’s collection grew, Chapman convinced him to build a museum on the property. The Gallery of Minerals was officially opened by the Minister for Mineral Resources, drawing many local and international visitors.
His collection developed an international reputation for its quality, and he himself a reputation for his encyclopaedic knowledge of mines, minerals, mineral crystals, fossil sites and fossils from earth’s major time periods.
In 2000 he donated approximately half of his collection to Australia. Prof Somerville AM lived in Bathurst during the development of the AFMM, the home of the Somerville Collection, returning to Orange after the museum had been established for a few years.
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