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John Bartrum papers.

Identifier: MSS-Archives-2012/04

Scope and Contents

This collection contains field notebooks, papers and reports and photographs relating to the life and work of John Bartrum.

The field notebooks cover the period 1907 to 1940. Some of the notebooks are a combination of personal diary and field notebook, and describe Bartrum's participation in rugby matches and other social events in addition to details of his survey work.

The papers and reports in this collection are primarily typescripts and manuscripts. The majority of these are of Bartrum's own work but a number are by other geologists and have been annotated by Bartrum. Occasionally Bartrum's drafts have been written on recycled paper, including students essays.

Among the collection are a number of files which relate to the building of the Arapuni hydro-electric dam and powerhouse on the Waikato River during the 1920s, including reports by Bartrum on erosion in the area and a wooden paper knife presented to Batrum in recognition his work.


  • 1907 - 1948


Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted.

Biographical / Historical

John Arthur Bartrum, 1885 -1949, was born in Geraldine, Canterbury in May 1885. Known as Arthur to his family and close friends he was the second of Benjamin Packer Bartrum and Charlotte Amy Hayden’s nine children. Bartrum was educated at Christchurch Boys high school and from 1904 to 1907 attended the University of Otago, graduating with an MSc in 1908.

Between 1908 and 1914 Bartrum was employed as field surveyor by the New Zealand Geological Survey, a physically demanding position which left him with weak ankles and contributed to his ill-health in later life. For a short time in 1909 and 1910 Bartrum taught at Canterbury Agricultural College.

Bartrum married Constance Ella Lorie, at Takapuna, Auckland, in July 1912. The couple had a son, John Wynyard, and three daughters, Margaret Patricia, Eleanor Constance and Joan Winifred.

In 1914 Bartrum was appointed lecturer in geology at Auckland University College. He was made full Professor in 1927 and retained the position until his death in 1949. For many years Bartrum was the only full time lecturer in Geology at the Auckland, teaching long hours and spending his weekends and holidays taking students on field trips.

During his career Bartrum published extensively, covering almost every aspect of geological theory with a focus on the geological features of Auckland and Northland. Bartrum ‘s contribution to New Zealand geology was recognised by the New Zealand Institute, later the Royal Society of New Zealand, which awarded him a fellowship in 1928, the Hutton Memorial Medal in 1932 and the Hector Memorial Medal and Prize in 1939. In addition he was also a fellow of the Geological Society of London and of America.

For further details see: Alan Mason. Bartrum, John Arthur - Biography, from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 1-Sep-10 URL:


0.6 metres

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection comprises material donated to the Geology Library and transferred to Special Collections in a number of accessions from the Geology Department between 2002 and 2011.

Related Materials

The Takapuna Library, Auckland, holds a collection of archival material, including photographs relating to John Bartrum and his family.

Inventory of the papers of John Bartrum, 1907 -1948.
Katherine Pawley
7 May 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Inventory is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand