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Hans Friedrich Wilhelm Barth was born in Cologne on 27th June 1904 and died in Melbourne Australia on 25th July 1969. Hans was the youngest of eight children born to Gustav Barth and Johanna Charlotte Barth (nee Haupt). Five of the children went to University and all were very musical, singing and playing instruments. Both his parents died when he was young, his mother when he was eight and his father at fourteen. Being the youngest, he was then sent to his aunt Maria who brought him up in Cologne.

Hans had a happy childhood and like his oldest brother studied metallurgy. He was a very good and diligent student and in his Diploma year 1931 he graduated with honours. He studied for his degree at Friedrichs-Polytechnikum in Cothen (Anhalt) and gained his Ingenieur-Hauptprüfung on the 30th July 1931. He then obtained a job with the Unterharzer Berg and Hüttenwerke GMBH. He subsequently worked from 1931 to 1937 as a metallurgist in the Lower Harz Mining and Metallurgy works in the Harz district of Eastern Germany where he met his to be wife Gisela Kreide.

They were married on the 28th October 1937 in Nordhausen Harz. In the meantime Hans one year earlier had made application to the Persian Government for a position leading a copper mine in Tehran. This application was accepted while on their honeymoon in Finland and they left by train from Berlin on December 4th 1937 to travel to Persia to take up a position working as a consultant metallurgist for the Department of Industry in Tehran, Iran.

There he worked in several places, setting up a copper electrolyser in Ganiabad close to Tehran, Anarek and in Azerbaijan as a metallurgist in copper and nickel mine. In Iran his name is associated with the start of modern non-ferrous ore metallurgy.

In 1941, now with his wife and a baby girl, Ingrid born in Tehran, all this fruitful work was interrupted with the war events and he was interned by the British and sent to Australia. On this journey he carried with him his always beloved saxophone. In Australia he was in the internment camps of Loveday, South Australia and then Tatura, Victoria. In the internment camps he worked for more than three years as a teacher of Mechanical Technology, Metallurgy and Material Science. He was also in the Jazz band and Orchestra.

In July 1946 when his interment ended he decided to remain in Australia. Work prospects were very much more likely than in war torn Germany. Hans then worked for several engineering companies in Melbourne as a Metallurgist and was always well liked and respected.

His wife Gisela and daughter Ingrid were able to join him from Germany via Sweden where they lived with the brother of Hans, Professor Otto Barth, also a Metallurgist. Late 1947 they obtained passage on a ship coming to Australia.

Hans had never let his membership lapse of the German Metallurgy magazine GDMB which he joined in 1935 and in his years in Australia after the war contributed many articles including the training of metallurgists in the Australian universities. His profession as consulting metallurgist made him the ideal person to help reestablish the journal in Germany after the war. He contributed articles about the American and Australian mining and metallurgy scenes and also about the history of gold mining in Australia from 1851 to 1951. These articles informed Germany of mining developments in these countries, which for Germany after the war was hard to obtain.

In his obituary from the German magazine they made mention of their grateful thanks for his amazing contribution from Australia, and that he was for nine years the head of the laboratory for  Nonferral, a metal recycling company in Melbourne.

With great sadness he died at the age of 65 of bowel cancer before being able to visit his homeland again, a trip that had been booked a year before his death.

"Written by Ingrid Stephen, H. Barth's daughter, 03/07/2020"

Hans Barth.jpg

© 2020-2023 Designed by P. KHOSRONEJAD

                     Dr. Pedram Khosronejad | Adjunct Professor

     Religion and Society Research Cluster | Western Sydney University

Fellow | Department of Anthropology | Harvard University


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