Historical archive data including formation request and significant anniversaries.

 


From the Magellan Archives: Copy of letter circulated by Herb Harris on 23 November 1959 proposing the formation of a local petroleum exploration association.

Re: QUEPED

Magellan Petroleum Corporation has always found that a local petroleum exploration society is useful to the oil companies and to their personnel members. With the growing body of oil people now settled in Brisbane, we feel that it is now time to get together into some official body which will give oil seekers a unified voice.

We envisage a group which might have bi-weekly luncheon meetings or perhaps, in the early stages, only a monthly dinner meeting. All of us have many blind spots concerning Queensland geology, geophysics, drilling and general operation conditions. Certainty, it would be worthwhile if we could get together to hear a talk each month on a topic of interest.

The group would be able to set up committees for scout checks, employment possibilities, standardization of drilling supplies, bulk ordering of oilfield supplies, relations with government agencies, exchange of information etc. These are just some ideas which come to mind immediately. Once such an organisation is an entity its uses become even more apparent.

QUEPED, the Queensland Petroleum Exploration and Development Society, would draw its membership predominately from the technical and administrative staff of the oil exploration companies. But it would invite membership from the University of Queensland, the Geological Survey, private consultants and contractors, and from lawyers and accountants locally connected with oil exploration. Although probably no more than 25 people would be members initially, it is probable that this number will grow during the next few years.

If you think that you would be interested in becoming a part of the proposed society, I would appreciate your contacting me by post at GPO Box 4557 or by phone at 2-5625. When enough people have indicated a common suitable time, an organizational meeting will be arranged.

Most sincerely,

MAGELLAN PETROEUM CORPORATION

H. I. Harris

Chief Geologist


From the Magellan Archives: Excerpt from internal weekly Magellan report (by Herb Harris) summarising first meeting for purpose of forming a local petroleum exploration organisation.

III. Oil Exploration Society

The first meeting was held in a local hotel on the evening of December 3 1959. The attendance was 24, including two from Sydney. All present were agreeable to have weekly luncheon meetings and to the principle that although the group should be informal, it should have a name and executives. A debate ensued following a movie by an oil representative form Sydney that the Brisbane group assume the name and be a branch of a federal oil group recently inaugurated in Sydney. In the vote which followed, all the Brisbane people voted to keep the society purely local for the immediate future.

A Steering committee composed of myself, Tanner of Phillips, Dick Mott, Traves of Mines Administration and Siller of Lucky Strike Drilling Co. was assigned to decide on the next meeting, a name for the group, and a slate of nominations.

To date, in addition to the evening announcement on the ABC radio noted in my last letter, there has been coverage by the ABC television news on the main evening broadcast, and yesterday there was a report on the noon ABC radio news about the meeting. Magellan was named as initiator of the group. This news service has been very helpful and discussions have been opened regarding the showing of a film which we might have made for them.

Herb Harris


QUPEX – Twenty First Anniversary – 1959 – 1980

QUPEX – The Queensland Petroleum Exploration Association – that loose-knit gathering with no constitution, no memorandum, no articles, no written rules or regulations – has baffled the experts and reached maturity.

For 21 years monthly meeting have been held on the last Thursday of each month for those interested in petroleum exploration – geologists, geophysicists, engineers, economists, accountants, stock brokers and even golfers and cricketers. They have been banded together in good comradeship, tall oily stories, and mostly interesting and sometimes learned lectures.

Our attendances have reflected the boom and lean years – over 100 in boom years and as low as 20 in the lean years – but the association has continued regardless.

It has been a “democratic” gathering with each year a new executive being informed that it is their turn to carry the can and to use their initiative to run the meetings for the next 12 months.

It all started back in 1959 – six years after the first post-war oil strike at Rough Range, followed by gas at Hospital Hill No. 4 and Port Campbell but before the discoveries of Cabawin (1960), Moonie (1961), Tinbury Hills and Pickanjinnie (1960).

The Americans were discovering the large tracts of sedimentary basins available for exploration and Herb Harris and Roy Hopkins of Magellan, Joe Tanner of Phillips, all preceded by Weldon Hightower of Austral Geo Prospectors and other Americans were making their headquarters in Brisbane.

They missed their friendly petroleum clubs and Herb Harris especially, found scouting difficult, having to visit companies weekly to ask what they were doing instead of finding out over a friendly drink. He circulated a letter dated 23 November 1959 proposing the formation of a petroleum organisation “able to est up committees for scout checks, employment possibilities, standardisation of drilling supplies, bulk ordering of oilfield supplies, relations with Government agencies, exchange of information etc”.

A band of five, consisting of Joe Tanner and Herb Harris from America and the locals, Bill Siller, Dick Mott and Doug Traves formed into a Steering Committee to get QUPEX on the road. The first meeting was held on the evening of 3 December1959 at the National Hotel.

Joe Tanner was elected the first Chairman with Doug Traves Vice Chairman and it was understood that the Chair would alternate yearly between Americans and Australians.

The attendance was 24 and many familiar faces, still well known in the Australian oil patch, such as Roy Richter, Syd Stormonth, Ian Morley, Ian McPhee Bill Siller and Doug Traves were present. Both the ABC radio and ABC television main evening broadcast gave coverage of the event.

In those early days, Doug Traves, Bob Loose, Dick Mott, Bill Siller, Weldon Hightower and Roy Richter all took their yearly turn at chairing the meetings and the original Steering Committee was enlarged to include ex-Chairmen. At the end of each year, the retiring Chairman would invite the Steering Committee to lunch to select the executive for the following year. The complete list of ex-Chairman is given below. Each has contributed his share to QUPEX’s continued existence and it is to the Chairmen of the lean periods that we owe most gratitude.

We have had a procession of venues, with changes whenever the service deteriorated or the or the charges became too high, with the National, Queens, United Services Club, Lennons, Majestic and Ridge, all preceding the present venue of the Gateway.

The Australian Petroleum Exploration Association and other petroleum exploration clubs followed in other States and for some years it was thought by all Southerners that QUPEX should become the Queensland branch of P.E.S.A. However QUPEX retained its loose-knit character and flourished. Today we have a membership of 240 and regularly have 60 at our monthly meetings.

Throughout the years QUPEX has had a number of adjuncts all significantly enough dedicated to the fostering of the social atmosphere that is truly QUPEX. Perhaps the best known is the QUPEX golf Tournament played on Thursday and Friday in the middle of September each year. The 16th Tournament has just been completed with over 130 players and 260 in attendance at the Presentation Dinner and, as usual, every second player received a trophy. In fact, the QUPEX Golf Tournament in golfing circles in Brisbane is regarded as the biggest and best.

Roy Richter admirably filled the position of Golf Chairman for 12 years and Doug Traves has held the position for the last four years. Jim Walls, Jack Rayner, Dennis Benbow, Roy Hopkins Bob Bell, Gerry Gerrard and Nev Musk have all given years of service on the Committee.

Another sporting event that was very popular for many years – in fact, Union personnel made the trip from Toowoomba for it each week – was the QUPEX Ten Pin Bowling. This event called the Petroleum Bowling League, was sponsored by the various companies and at its peak in the mid 1960’s had 24 five man teams. With the downturn in oil exploration in 1966 and 1967 many of the American companies withdrew staff from Brisbane and, as the incentive had come predominately from Americans, the league folded.

Other events that have been held were fishing competitions – generally on wet and windy days – cricket matches, boat trips, dances and of course the Annual Family Picnic which was first held in 1966. The Picnic has continued to grow through both the prosperous and lean years and has been an annual mid-winter event, with families and friends of QUPEX members joining the festivities. This year’s picnic, presided over by experienced ring master Dick Groves and his willing band of stalwarts, attracted over 500 adults and children.

The early seventies saw the advent of the late summer sporting event – what is perhaps loosely termed the Annual Cricket March. In the early years this event had to have specially tailored rules to allow the American contingent to be competitive – that is they were allowed to bowl baseball style. However, even Americans can adapt to their environment, and in recent years, under the guiding hand of captain/coach Paul Balfe, the bowling rules have been refined and other variations introduced instead.

Although QUPEX has been predominately a male affair, there have been ladies at the door collecting the money, handing out name cards and, in general, organising the meetings. Firstly it was the trio of Marie Drew, Shirley Archer and Mary Prentice followed by Lyn Collins, Merle Bowman, Lynette Imhoff and Wendy Twort. Congratulations to Merle who, although doing the Secretary-Treasurer’s work for years, has now accepted the title as well as the work.

This year Bruce Robinson is ably carrying out the traditions of QUPEX Chairman and congratulations to him for presiding over this 21st Birthday.

Year                Past Presidents                                 

1959                QUPEX underway November

1960                Joe Tanner

1961                Doug Traves

1962                Bob Loose / Herb Harris

1963                Dick Mott

1964                Roy Richter

1965                Bill Swales

1966                Bill Siller

1967                Ian McPhee

1968                Eric Locke

1969                Greg Swindon

1970                Noel Hoyling / Dennis Benbow

1971                Roy Hopkins / Trevor Madden

1972                Roger Planalp

1973                John Blackwood

1974                Jim Walls

1975                Dave Heron

1976                Maurie Drew

1977                Lee Pfitzner

1978                Bruce McCaul

1979                Dick Paten

1980                Bruce Robinson


QUPEX – Twenty-Fifth Anniversary – 1959-1984

QUPEX – The Queensland Petroleum Exploration Association – that loose-knit gathering with no constitution, no memorandum, no articles, no written rules or regulations – continues to baffle the experts and has reached the quarter century mark.

For 25 years monthly meeting have been held on the lat Thursday of each month for those interested in petroleum exploration – geologists, geophysicists, engineers, economists, accountants, stockbrokers and even golfers and cricketers. They have banded together in friendship, tall oily stories and mostly interesting and sometimes learned lectures. Our attendances have reflected the boom and bust years with over 100 in boom years and as low as 20 in the lean years – but the association has continued regardless. It is a “democratic” gathering with each year a new Chairman being informed that it is his turn to carry the can and to use his initiative to run the meetings for the next 12 months. After the 12 months the Chairman must retire to become one of the band of elders known as the Steering Committee.

It all started back in 1959 – six years after the first post-war oil strike at Rough Range, but before the discoveries of Cabawin, Timbury Hills and Pickanjinnie )1960) and Moonie (1961). The Americans had discovered that large tracts of sedimentary basins were available for exploration and Herb Harris and Roy Hopkins of Magellan, Joe Tanner of Phillips, Weldon Hightower of Austral Geo Prospectors, to name a few, had made their headquarters in Brisbane. They missed their friendly petroleum clubs and Herb Harris especially found scouting difficult, having to visit companies weekly to ask what they were doing instead of finding out over a friendly drink. He circulated a letter dated 23rd November 1959, proposing the formation of a petroleum organisation “able to set up committees for scout checks, employment possibilities, standardisation of drilling supplies, bulk ordering of oilfield supplies, relations with Government agencies, exchange of information etc”. A band of five consisting of Joe Tanner and Herb Harris from American and the locals, Bill Siller, Dick Mott and Doug Traves formed into a Steering Committee to get QUPEX on the road. The first meeting was held on the evening of 3rd December 1959, at the National Hotel. Joe Tanner was elected the first Chairman with Doug Traves being Vice Chairman and it was understood that the Chair would alternate yearly between Americans and Australians. The attendance was 24 and many familiar faces, still well known in the Australian oil patch, such as Roy Richter, Syd Stormonth, Ian Morley, Ian McPhee, Bill Siller and Doug Traves were present. Both the ABC radio and ABC television main evening broadcasts gave coverage of the event.

In these early days, Doug Traves, bob Loose, Dick Mott, Bill Siller, Weldon Hightower and toy Richter all took their yearly turn at chairing the meeting and the original Steering Committee was enlarged to include ex-Chairmen. At the end of each year, tradition was it that the retiring Chairman invites the Steering Committee to lunch to select the executive committee for the following year. The complete list of ex-Chairmen appears on the cover. Each has contributed his share of QUPEX’s continued existence and it is to the Chairmen of the lean periods that we owe most gratitude. We have had a succession of venues, with changes whenever the service deteriorated or the charges became too high, with the National, Weens, United Services Club, Lennons, Majestic and Ridge, all preceding the present venue of the Gateway.

The Australian Petroleum Exploration Associated (APEA), now Australian Pipeline Petroleum Exploration Associated (APPEA) and several petroleum exploration clubs subsequently came into being in other States and for some years it was thought by Southerners that QUPEX should become the Queensland branch of the Professional division of APEA, now the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia (PESA). However, QUPEX retained its loose-knit character and flourished. Today we have a membership of over 400 throughout Australia and overseas and regularly have 60 or more at our monthly meetings.

Through the years QUPEX has had a number of adjuncts all, significantly enough, dedicated to the fostering of the social atmosphere that is truly QUPEX. The best known of these are the QUPEX Golf Tournament, a two day event played in the early spring, the QUPEX Family Picnic traditionally held in the mid winter and what is perhaps loosely termed the Annual Cricket Match, held in late summer.

In the long history of the QUPEX Golf Tournament we have only had three Golf Chairmen which must say something for their staying power and the dedication of their committee. Roy Richter admirably filled the position for 12 years, Doug Traves for six and now Jim Walls, who has served on the committee for many years, has taken over at the helm. The 20th Golf Tournament has just bene held at Virginia Golf Club with over 130 players on the course and 300 in attendance at the Presentation Dinner. As usual the generosity of the operating and service companies meant that more than half the players received a trophy. In fact, the QUPEX Golf Tournament is recognised in Brisbane golfing circles as the biggest and best.

The QUPEX Annual Family Picnic is another event that has a long history, being first held in 1966 and continuing to grow through both boom and bust years with families and friends of QUPEX members joining the festivities. For 10 years Dick Groves has presided over the picnic and we have seen the attendance grow from just over 200 to nearly 1000 in that period. This year our retiring Picnic Chairman handed over to Paul Balfe who carried on the tradition by providing excellent weather and a successful day – something we hope he can continue to do for many years.

The early seventies saw the advent of a late summer sporting event – the Annual Cricket Match. In the early years this even had to have specially tailored rules to allow the American contingent to be competitive – that is they were allowed to bowl baseball style. However even Americans can adapt to their environment, and in recent years, under the guiding hand of captain/coach Paul Balfe and now Greg Wooler, the bowling rules have been refined and other variations introduced instead.

Another sporting event that was very popular for many years – in face, Union personnel made the trip from Toowoomba for it each week – was the QUPEX Ten Pin Bowling. This event, called the Petroleum Bowling League, was sponsored by the various companies and, at its peak in the mid sixties, had 24 five man teams. With the oil exploration downturn in 1966 and 1967 many of the American companies withdrew staff from Brisbane and, as the enthusiasm had come predominantly from Americans, the league folded.

Other events that have been held at one time of another were fishing competitions – generally on wet and windy days, boat trips, dances, wine tasting and some memorable gourmet dinner nights in some rather different places.

Although QUPEX has been predominantly a male affair, there have been ladies at the door, collecting the money, handing out name cards and, in general, organising the meetings. Firstly it was the trio of Marie Drew, Shirley Archer and Mary Prentice followed by Lyn Collins, Merle Bowman, Lynette Imhoff and Wendy Twort. In 1983, the Steering Committee broke the all male succession of Chairmen and Merle Bowman, who was Secretary/Treasurer for many years became the first lady President.

This year, the year of our Silver Anniversary, Lance McSorley is ably carrying on in the time honoured tradition as Chairman and we congratulate him on presiding over our special celebrations. We look forward to seeing you at our Golden Anniversary in the year 2009.

QUPEX Steering Committee

23rd November 1984