Short Biographical Statement on Dr. J.W. Herath

By Mr. Dulip Jayawardana

Willie Herath had his primary and secondary  education at St. Anthony’s College,  Kandy and graduating from the Banaras Hindu University,   joined the Geological Survey DepartJWment (Present GSMB), in 1952  as  an Assistant Geologist. In 1953  he was award a scholarship for training in geology  and proceeded  to the University of Adelaide  Australia. Hearth’s scholarship was extended for a further year to enable him to be trained at the Building Research Division of Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in 1956 under Dr Hosking, who subsequently  visited Sri Lanka to advice the establishment of a modern Brick and Tile industry. In addition  ,Herath spent a field season with a party from the Department of Mines , South Australia mapping an area of Precambrian rocks.

In 1966, Herath was awarded a Post-Graduate scholarship under the Colombo Plan Technical Cooperation scheme and proceeded to the University of Leeds, United Kingdom and was admitted to the Post-Graduate School of Applied Sciences for research on Sri Lankan clays and ceramic raw materials. Heb was awarded the PhD in 1969.

Herath was also responsible in establishing close links with the Department of Mining of the University of Leeds and the University of Katubedda, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka in establishing the Mining and materials Sciences Department.

   Herath  mapped and  complied  geological maps  covering  Ratnapura, Rakwana , Maha Oya etc. Further, he was responsible for advising the Ceylon Ceramic Corporation on use of ceramic raw materials such as feldspar, quartz, ball clay, kaolin etc for manufacture of high quality ceramics  in their factories .Herath also advised on use of  local  of brick and tile clays in all the brick and tile factories established throughout the island. Herath was also a Technical Advisor to Noritake Ltd  when the first porcelain factory was established at Rattota in the Matale  District.

It is remarkable that Herath during his long professional career of over 50 years  was involved in multidisciplinary studies in all aspects of earth sciences with much emphasis on industrial applications of economically exploitable mineral resources  in Sri Lanka as well as oceanographic studies and assessment of  off shore minerals.

During his short stay as Director of the Geological Survey Department, Herath was responsible in re- structuring the Department by creating various Divisions and appointed sectional heads who were sent for advanced training  to United Kingdom.

In 1976, Herath was appointed as the Commonwealth Geological Liaison Officer and was released by the government to take up his post in London and  was the only Sri Lankan to hold this post.

Upon Herath’s return to Sri Lanka in 1979, he was appointed as the Director , Scientific Affairs of the Ministry of industries and Scientific Affairs.

On retirement from government service in 1982, Herath was appointed to the post of Director, Oceanography and Marine geology of the newly established National Aquatic Resources and research Agency (NARA) of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources  and served in this post until 1985.

From 1986 to 1990  Herath served as UNIDO National Project Director of the Ceramic Research and  Development Centre , Lanka Ceramics Ltd and was responsible in establishing a state of the art modern Ceramic  Research Laboratory .

In 1991 Hearth was appointed Technical Director to the Ministry of Minerals and  Mineral Based  industries and held this post till 1993 and  from  1994 -1997 and  he was   the Technical Director and Consultant  to the Ministry of Industrial Development.

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