HALL, Thomas Sergeant (1858-1915)


HALL, Thomas Sergeant (1858-1915)
geologist
was born at Geelong on 23 December 1858, the son of Thomas March Hall, a business man in that town. Hall was educated at the Geelong Grammar School where he came under the influence of J. L. Cuthbertson (q.v.). He was a junior master at Wesley College In 1879-80, and then went to Melbourne university, where he took his B.A. degree in 1886 with honours in natural science. This included work in palaeontology under (Sir) Frederick McCoy (q.v.). He was teaching at Girton College, Bendigo, in 1887, but returned to the university and did a three years' course in biology. He took a leading part in the forming of the university science club, and in connexion with it met Dr G. B. Pritchard with whom he was later to do valuable work in geology. He was a successful director of the Castlemaine school of mines from 1890 to 1893, and in the latter year became lecturer in biology at Melbourne university. He held this position until his death but found time for many other activities. In 1899 he published a Catalogue of the Scientific and Technical Periodical Literature in the Libraries of Victoria. A second and enlarged edition, in which he was assisted by Mr E. R. Pitt of the public library, Melbourne, appeared in 1911. He did much valuable work for the Field Naturalists' Club, the Royal Society of Victoria, and the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science. His Victorian Hill and Dale, describing the geology of the country around Melbourne, which was brought out in 1909, is a model book of popular science—written without a trace of scientific jargon; there is in fact scarcely a technical term in its 150 pages. He did not write a large number of papers, but his work on the graptolite rocks of Victoria led to his being made the recipient of the Murchison fund of the Geological Society of London in 1901. He became ill early in 1915, but courageously carried on his work until shortly before his death on 21 December 1915. He married Miss E. L. Hill, who survived him with children. He was given the honorary degree of D.Sc. by Melbourne university in 1908.
Dr Hall was kindly and unselfish, a good example of the hard-working man of science, giving much time to matters of routine, and yet contriving to do original and important work in one or more directions. His work with Dr Pritchard on the tertiary fossiliferous strata of Victoria, and his own work on the graptolite rocks of Victoria give him a permanent place in the history of Australian geology.
W. Baldwin Spencer, Thomas Sergeant Hall, Reprint from the Victorian Naturalist, vol. 32, 1916; F. Chapman, Geological Magazine, 1916; Nature, 2 March 1916; personal knowledge.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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