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Alexander (Sandy) Renwick OBE, 1923-2003

Alexander "Sandy" Renwick was born in 1923 at Horsham, England and educated at King's College, Wimbledon and Edinburgh University. His education was disrupted by the war and after one year reading Geology he joined the Army and was commissioned into the Royal Artillery, Indian Army. Most of his service was with the Mountain Gunners on the North West Frontier and he was proud to say that he had served with the only British cavalry unit that was mounted throughout the Second World War.

In 1947 Sandy was demobilised and returned to Edinburgh University where he obtained an MA in Geology, and in 1950 joined the Malayan Geological Service and remained there until 1963 becoming Assistant Director based in Ipoh. For some years of his service in Malaya the "Emergency" was in force and he worked closely with the Malayan Police and the Army surveying new roads and helping with the resettlement of Chinese villages. When he was working with the Royal Marines on resettlement a senior official is reported as saying "Sandy Renwick is worth a platoon of Marines".

During his years in Malaya Sandy was a keen horseman and for several years was Chairman of the Amateur Racing Association. On leaving the Malayan Geological Service he was awarded the OBE.

In 1964 Sandy joined the Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources and in 1965 was seconded to Papua New Guinea as Chief Government Geologist in the Department of Mines. Sandy used his undoubted organisational expertise to establish an Earthquake Code for PNG and to develop the Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea, where his staff provided support for BMR field parties and geological advice to the PNG Government.

In 1973 Sandy returned to Canberra on appointment as Secretary General of the 1976 International Geological Conference. In this position his enthusiasm and ability ensured a most successful conference and the first International Geological Congress to show a profit. This success was recognised and he provided advice to the organising committees of several subsequent Congresses.

Sandy was appointed Head of the BMR Publications and Information Section in 1977 and he took the reins in time to oversee a change in presentation and content of the BMR annual report. Rather than trying to summarise the Bureau's activities for a 12-month period highlights were selected and presented in a non-technical narrative form that would be comprehensible and interesting to the general reader.

Sandy retired in 1983 to Baldersby near Thirsk in Yorkshire where he organised the local Beagle Hunt. He is survived by his wife Veronica (Bartram).

Sandy was a colleague who provided sound advice on many subjects. His forte was not geological fieldwork but the organisation of geologically related activities. He had a quietly effective sense of humour and created a stir at Port Moresby airport when he arrived complete with Homburg hat, rolled umbrella and monocle.

Patrick MacGregor