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George and Jane Francis
Title : George and Jane Francis George and Jane Francis
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Source : B 54392
Date of creation : 1842
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 200 x 155 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

Mr George Francis and his wife Jane who arrived in South Australia in 1849.

From the Adelaide Observer, 12 November 1892, p. 30, col. a:

"The late Mr. George Francis. In our obituary column will be found the notification of the decease of this well-known gentleman, who died at North Adelaide on the 5th inst. Mr Francis during his 43 years' residence in South Australia justified the placing of his name upon the already long list of useful and enterprising colonists. In his time he played many parts. Previous to his arrival in the colony he was engaged by a large and influential English Syndicate to visit Spain in search of coal and other minerals. Immediately after his arrival here he was commissioned by Mr. Walters, the well-known partner of the late Captain Hart, to visit our northern country for a similar purpose, and, strange to say, he then indicated to his employer that the neighbourhood of what is now Leigh's Creek mostly favoured the existence of bituminiferous [bitumen] deposits. Subsequently in 1860 he engaged as a wheatbuyer in Gawler for the firm of Messrs. Hart and Hughes. Afterwards he was engaged by Mr. E.M. Bagot in the preparation of what was subsequently patented as Bagot's extract of meat, samples of which were publicly tested in the library of this office. Large consignments of it were afterwards forwarded to the Northern Territory in the early years of her golden age. Then Mr. Francis was employed by the Government in examining the waters of Lake Alexandrina during the prevalence of what was termed "lake scum," which proved so disastrous to both cattle and sheep. He was afterwards deputed to make analytical tests of the water from several depth.[sic] conserved in the reservoir at Thornden Parks [sic]. But what perhaps brought him most prominently under the notice of the public was his connection with the South Australian Institute, where the Board of Governors granted him the use of the old gas-house as a laboratory and for the establishment of chemical classes. The building was fitted up for him for the latter purpose, and the cemented sided well of the first gasometer worked in Adelaide was after the initiation of the S.A. Gas Company used by him as a cellar. His first pupil there was Mr. G.A. Goyder, the present Government Analytical Chemist, and he with many others now living can testify to the practical and masterly tuition they received from the deceased gentleman. Mr. Francis discontinued his work at the Institute laboratory in 1882, the building being required for purposes connected with the Museum."

Coal was mined in small quantities at Leigh Creek from 1888, but not in commercial quantities until 1943 when the South Australian government determined to make the state more self-sufficient for its power needs.

In 1878 Mr Francis corresponded with Charles Darwin sending him plant specimens and enquiring from Darwin if he had researched the colouring of plants. Darwin's reply to Francis has been preserved and the letter was attached by a previous owner of Darwin's book Insectivorous plants now in the State Library's collection.

Related names :

Francis, George, 1814-1892

Francis, Jane

South Australian Institute

Coverage year : 1842
Period : 1836-1851
Place : South Australia
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

The late Mr. George Francis Adelaide observer, 12 November 1892, p. 30, col. a

Talbot, Michael A chance to read: a history of the institutes movement in South Australia / written for the Institutes Association of South Australia Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1992 p. 70

Colwell, M and Alan Naylor. Adelaide: an illustrated history, [Joslin, S. Aust.]: McP, 1981

Toxic blooms of cyanobacteria in Lake Alexandrina, South Australia: learning from history / G.A. Codd ... [et al.] Melbourne: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, 1994]

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