JIM MACDONALD – DSO, DSC, TWO BARS and a BARMAC

09/11/2004
As we complete another successful lecture tour to mark Jim Macdonald and his invention The Barmac I thought it important to look back at who Jim was and to also introduce this year’s host speaker. Ian Rodger, Manager of Metso Minerals. Firstly I want to thank Ian and Metso Minerals who make the lecture tour possible.

Jim Macdonald was born in Wellington in 1921 but with the outbreak of war on September 3, 1939 as a Royal Naval Volunteer Jim was transferred to the UK and an officers training course at the shore base HMS King Alfred in Kent where he passed top of the class. Because of this he was offered a choice as to where he would serve. Fast motor torpedo boats it was for Jim and by 1941 at the age of 19, he was promoted to midshipman.

For his distinguished war record for actions against the enemy in the North Sea he was awarded the DSO, DSC, and two bars along with a citation from the Royal Humane Society for saving life at sea. A leader in every sense of the word, he became New Zealand’s most decorated naval officer and retired at the end of the war in his early 20’s, with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

While serving with the navy he invented a torpedo sight which married the speed and direction of the torpedo and the speed and direction of the target. This became used throughout the MTB flotilla and is now on display at the Royal NZ Navy Museum in Devonport.

In 1946 Jim joined the Wellington City Council and was responsible for the Council’s Kiwi Point Quarry operation in Ngaraunga. To improve its output a new device, worked out in his children’s sand pit, named the Macdonald Impactor was invented. This however could not of been done without the assistance and support of Gib Stuart and Bryan Bartley.

Jim unfortunately died in 1982 from stomach cancer.

The original BarMac prototype now holds pride of place on display at the entrance to Kiwi Point Quarry.

2004 Guest Speaker – Ian Rodger

This year’s guest speaker was Ian Rodger and his paper reflects the interest that the industry has in the development and history of Jim Macdonald?s invention.

Titled Brand to Brand Ian explains why Barmacs have been installed on North Sea Drilling rigs and why diamond mines in South Africa use Barmacs to increase the value of their product.

Ian has been married to Val for 36 years, has two sons and is currently the manager of Metso Minerals whose sponsorship and support make this bi-annual lecture possible.