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Biographical entry Mitchell, Stanley Robert (1881 - 1963)

12 February 1881
St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
22 March 1963
East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Businessman and Collector


Stanley Mitchell was a geologist and mineralogist who was also an enthusiastic collector of minerals and rocks and Aboriginal artefacts. He established his own business as a gold-assayer in 1911. S. R. Mitchell & Co. Pty Ltd was as a major refiner of precious metals from the mid-1920s and from 1930 Mitchell's Abrasives Pty Ltd manufactured sandpaper using crushed glass from a nearby brewery. Mitchell's ethnological collection, now in the National Museum of Australia, was believed to be the largest private artefact collection in Australia. His pioneering Stone-age craftsmen (1949) was greeted with mixed responses. He was a long-standing honorary member of the staff of the National Museum of Victoria, which acquired his collection of approximately 2,000 mineralogical specimens after his death. Mitchell served as President of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria and the Anthropological Society of Victoria. His manuscripts and correspondence were deposited in the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.



Education - Geologists' Expert Certificate, from Working Men's College
Career event - Joined the staff of the Working Men's College
Career position - Foundation Member, Australian Chemical Institute
1931 - 1963
Career position - Honorary Mineralogist, National Museum of Victoria
1934 - 1963
Career position - Foundation Member, Anthropological Society of Victoria
1940 - 1943
Career position - President, Anthropological Society of Victoria 1940, 1942 - 1943
1945 - 1954
Career position - Trustee and Treasurer, National Museum of Victoria
1949 - 1963
Career position - Honorary Ethnologist, National Museum of Victoria
Award - Australian Natural History Medallion, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria

Related Awards

Related Corporate Bodies

Published resources

Book Sections

  • Lovering, J.F., 'Mitchell, Stanley Robert (1881-1963), Ethnologist, Mineralogist, Metallurgist and Businessman' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, John Ritchie, ed., vol. 15 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2000), pp. 384-385. Details


See also

  • Birch, W. D. and Henry, D.A., 'The geology collections of Museum Victoria, Melbourne', Australian Journal of Mineralogy, 6 (2) (2000), 83-91. Details
  • Sutton, Pat, 'Glimpses of the past from portable wooden mineral cases', Historical Records of Australian Science, 27 (2) (2016), 103-15, Details

Helen Cohn