Dalway J. Swaine
Compiled by Colin Ward and Ken Riley
Dalway John (Dal) Swaine obtained a BSc degree from the University of Melbourne (Australia) in 1945, an MSc degree from the same university in 1947, and a PhD from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) in 1952. He joined the Lubricants and Bearings Section of the CSIR (now CSIRO) as Assistant Research Officer while still an undergraduate student (1940-1944), served as Senior Demonstrator at the University of Melbourne from 1945 to 1949, and was a Senior Research Officer at the Macauley Institute for Soil Research in Aberdeen from 1952 to 1959. Dal returned to Australia in 1960 as Senior Research Scientist with the (then) Division of Coal Research at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and went on to a very distinguished career with that organisation until his formal retirement, as Chief Research Scientist, in 1985.

Dr Swaine's research has covered a range of topics in geochemistry, as well as early work outside the Earth sciences dealing with chemical studies of zinc coatings. He is best known, however, for his comprehensive studies of the trace element geochemistry of coals. These include the extensively-cited reference books Trace Elements in Coal (1990) and Environmental Aspects of Trace Elements in Coal (with F. Goodarzi, 1995), as well as the wider-ranging Biogeochemical Cycling of Mineral-forming Elements (with P.A. Trudinger, 1979). His contributions also include more than 30 scientific papers, dealing mainly with different aspects of coal analysis and trace element determination, the geological and environmental significance of trace elements in coal, and the behaviour of trace elements in coal utilisation.    

These contributions have been recognised by numerous Fellowships and Awards, including Fellowships of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (1957), the Australian Institute of Energy (1978), election as President of the Royal Society of New South Wales (1976), the Merrill W. Haas Award from the University of Kansas (1980), the Archibald D. Olle Prize from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (1982), and the Society's Medal from the Royal Society of New South Wales (1985). He also served on Editorial Boards for a number of major international journals, including Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Environmental Geochemistry and Health, Journal of Thermal Analysis, and Journal of the Science of the Total Environment.     

As might be expected from such an active researcher, Dal continued his association with CSIRO after retirement, through appointment as an Honorary Visiting Fellow. He also held appointments as Professorial Fellow at the University of Sydney, Visiting Scientist at the Institute of Sedimentary and Petroleum Geology in Calgary, and Senior Science Advisor with the University of North Dakota, and has been welcomed as an invited lecturer and visiting scientist at many other universities and research centres around the world. His contributions have been further recognised by a number of more recent awards, including the Peter H. Given Award for Coal Science from The Pennsylvania State University (1998) and the Research Excellence Award from the University of North Dakota (2000), as well as numerous invitations to present keynote addresses at major international conferences.     

With research experience that covers many different aspects of the inorganic geochemistry of coal, including development of analytical techniques, evaluation of modes of element occurrence, and the implications of inorganic geochemistry to coal utilisation, it is indeed fitting that the TSOP award for the best paper in geochemistry and/or mineralogy of coal or hydrocarbon source rocks is named in his honour.     

Dal lived in retirement in the northern suburbs of Sydney. He died on January 22, 2013. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that he is survived by his wife Wyn, two children, two grandchildren, a brother and sister.     

In recognition of his work, in 2010 TSOP inaugurated the Dal Swaine Award for the best refereed paper in inorganic or organic geochemistry and/or mineralogy of coal or hydrocarbon source rocks. He received many other honors, including the Peter H. Given Award for Coal Science from The Pennsylvania State University (1998) and the Research Excellence Award from the University of North Dakota (2000).