"The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays to shape what we are and what we do."
Sir William Deane, Governor-General of Australia, Inaugural Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, August 1996.

Richard (Dick) Richards

Physics Lecturer at VSF, 1934

This article is based on extracts from an article about Richards on the website of Federation University.

During the early years of VSF, many lecturers of the sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Geology etc) were persons from the Ballarat School of Mines.

Sometimes lecturers attended at Creswick and sometimes students travelled to Ballarat for tuition. One interesting person in this category was Richard (Dick) Richards who lectured in Physics at the VSF in 1934.

Dick Richards had an interesting background, having joined the Ballarat School of Mines (SMB) in 1914 and soon afterwards was granted leave to join an expedition to Antarctica. In 1915 he sailed from Australia with the Antarctic Exploration Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Most Antarctic enthusiasts know of Ernest Shackleton's attempt to cross the Continent , only to be thwarted by the sinking of the Endurance. Dick Richards was the physicist and sled manager for Shackleton's Ross Sea Party - with the task to meet Shackleton on the other side of the Continent.

He spent three freezing years in Antarctica between 1914 and 1917. After returning to Australia, he resumed his work at SMB as Lecturer in Physics and Mathematics and developed many pieces of experimental equipment. During World War 2 he acted as a scientific adviser in the production of optical apparatus in Australia.

In 1946 he was appointed Principal of SMB and twelve years later he retired.