Charles Smith Wilkinson (1843-1891)
Charles Smith Wilkinson (1843-1891) was a geologist, emigrated with his family to Melbourne, in 1852. Charles attended Rev. T. P. Fenner's Collegiate School, Prahran, and in December 1859 began work with the Victorian Geological Survey becoming in 1861 field assistant to Richard Daintree.
Wilkinson moved to Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, to take up pastoral pursuits, but occasionally did some private surveying. In October 1870 in evidence before the gold fields royal commission he warned against dividing the interests and claims of geology and mining, and argued for a department of mines. After passing his surveyor's licence on 16 August 1871 he worked in the Surveyor-General's Department, then as a geological surveyor from 16 July 1874 in the Department of Lands until he became geological surveyor in charge in the Department of Mines in 1875.
In 1874 Wilkinson began the systematic geological survey of New South Wales. From October 1882 to March 1883 he acted as chief mining surveyor. He persuaded the government to support the search for subterranean water in the western districts, giving detailed hydrological evidence in August 1884 before the royal commission on the conservation of water. He travelled widely throughout New South Wales as a member of the Prospecting Board from 1888, gaining an intimate knowledge of its mineralogical and palaeontological wealth.
Despite long absences from Sydney Wilkinson was active in the colony's corporate scientific life: a member of the local Royal Society from 1874, he was its president in 1887-88; a member of the Linnean Society of New South Wales from 1880 and president in 1883-84, he contributed five papers on anthropology, geology and the general progress of colonial science. He was elected a fellow of the Geological Society, London, in 1876, the Linnean Society of London in 1881 and the Victoria Institute, London, in 1885 and was a member of the New South Wales branch of the Geographical Society of Australasia.