Neil Wilfred Archbold, born 14 August 1950 in Ringwood, Victoria, his family closely associated with the gold mining town of Chewton in central Victoria where Archbold's Gold Treatment Works had been operated by the Archbold family for over 100 years.
had an early passion for all aspects of natural history, with a special love of Lepidoptera and arachnids, which he
maintained throughout his
Neil's secondary school education at Camberwell Grammar in Canterbury, Melbourne and went on to Melbourne University
, where he
undertook degrees if BA, funded by a Commonwealth University Scholarship, MSc and then a PhD, completed in 1983.
In 1973 he
was awarded the C.M. Tattam Scholarship in Geology and was awarded a University of Melbourne Postgraduate Scholarship
(1976-1979) enabling him to undertake a PhD on Permian brachiopods.
Neil's research focussed on the spectacular Permian faunas of Western Australia, especially the brachiopods, the dominant element in most of those faunas.
While doing his postgraduate degrees, Neil was employed as a part-time tutor (1973-1980) and then full-time tutor (1980-1982) in the Geology Department of the University of Melbourne, during which time he also tutored for the Council of Adult Education in Melbourne.
continued for 17 years (1973-1989) until full-time employment as Lecturer in Earth Sciences at the Rusden Campus
of Victoria College
(incorporated into Deakin University
For many years (1983-1988) he continued his association with Melbourne University as a Research Associate in its School of Earth Sciences but his new roles at Deakin made continued association with and frequent travel to his alma mater increasingly difficult.
He had taught Higher School Certificate evening classes at University High School for three years (1977-1980), had temporary employment as a Scientific Services Officer in the Division of Geomechanics with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Melbourne (1983-1986), and had stints as a contract lecturer in the Department of Earth Sciences at Monash University (1984-1988), in the Department of Geology at Melbourne University (1986) and with the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at the Melbourne College of Advanced Education (1988-1989).
The patchwork of short-term teaching commitments came to an end when he was appointed Senior Tutor in Earth Sciences at Victoria College (1989).
When Neil joined Deakin University, its Earth Science discipline was a minor entity focused on undergraduate teaching.
soon developed it into a nationally and internationally recognised teaching and research group with a wide range of linkages to overseas institutions.
Neil served as a member of various advisory committees concerned with the School of Mining, Geology and Metallurgy of the Ballarat University/University of Ballarat (1989-1998) and of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (1991-1998).
Among numerous honours was his
appointment (1994 until his
death) as Guest Professor at the China University of Mining & Technology
Neil was prominent in activities of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), having been a titular member of its Subcommissions on Gondwana Stratigraphy (1986-2005) and History of Geology (1992-2005), as well as corresponding member of the Permian and Carboniferous subcommissions (1986 until his death, and 1992-2005 respectively).
He was co-convenor of the Australian Working Group on 'Using Permian mixed biota's as gateways for Permian global correlations', had been a member of the International Geological Correlation Program project 203 on 'Permo-Triassic events if the eastern Tethys region and their intercontinental correlation' (1985-1988), and had been a member of the Working Group on the 'Carboniferous-Permian Boundary' (1987-1993).
Neil was a member of the Royal Society of Victoria (from 1973), the Geological Society of Australia (from 1973), the Coal Geology Group of the GSA, the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, the Palaeontological Society (U.S.A.) and the Palaeontological Associations of Argentina and Spain.
He had been a committee member (1982) and, subsequently treasurer (1983-1985) of the Victorian Division of the Geological Society of Australia (GSA), chairman of the DE Thomas Memorial Medal Committee (1985-2005), a committee member of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists (AAP, 1982-83), and secretary of AAP (1994-1996).
initial core area of research on the taxonomy of Permian
brachiopods from Western Australia, he
spread into considerations of other taxonomic groups (especially bivalves and trilobites), palaeogeography and palaeobiology, palaeoclimatology and palaeoecology, oceanic circulation patterns, and global stratigraphic alignments for the Permian and, later, Carboniferous systems.
taxonomic output included more than 150 new subfamilies and one new family of brachiopods as well as a new species.
was also knowledgeable on the Cainozoic stratigraphy of south-eastern Australia, publishing a modicum of work on Cainozoic brachiopods, echinoids and marsupials.