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Noel Henry Hoyling (1921–1994)

by Douglas Mofat Traves and M. J. Gerrard

Noel [Henry Vaughan] Hoyling was born in Tara, Queensland but spent his formative years in Brisbane as a boarder at Brisbane Church of England Grammar School during which time he excelled in a number of sports, particularly cricket. Noel won a Shell Oil Company cadetship which gave him the opportunity to study geology part time at the Queensland University and whilst working for Shell in his chosen field, he graduated with a BSc. In 1945 he joined the Bureau of Mineral Resources.

At the end of the 1949 field season in the Northern Territory I travelled across to Broome and found Noel there with the BMR Kimberley Field Party. It was then that I found out he was a hard worker as he and his field assistant cleaned and stored vehicles and equipment by day and then proceeded to the local meat works to work an eight hour night shift to augment their field pay! In 1952, '53 Noel worked with the Petroleum Technology Branch spending time on coal assessments at Muswellbrook.

Noel spent further time with BMR field surveys, including Papua New Guinea, along with A.P.C., but when working in Canberra, played cricket with Canberra University College and was always handy opening the bowling or donning the gloves as wicket keeper.

In 1954 and following the disappointment of Rough Range earlier it was assumed there was no commercial oil in Australia. Many Australian geologists left for overseas and Noel went to Canada to pursue his vocation of petroleum exploration. Initially he worked for Hudbay in the Artie area, but through fellow Australian, Warren Jopling, joined Link Consultants, and spent two years as Exploration Supervisor, traipsing in the Amazon jungles for Petrobras. The call to Australia was strong after the Petroleum Search Subsidy Act was introduced in 1962 and a boom in petroleum exploration attracted explorers to return, including Noel. He joined Amalgamated Petroleum in 1964.

Amalgamated discovered the Trinidad field south-east of Roma and it was while testing the well Noel was caught in a flash fire, suffering burns to his hands and legs. He spent time in hospital recovering and made light of his injuries and was not bitter of the consequences of a careless rig hand thinking it was safe to walk to the location perimeter to light a cigarette.

While working with Amalgamated he met Lucy Maslow whom he married in 1967. In 1966 he joined Michael Gahan consulting as a log analyst but eventually in 1968 moved to Penang Malaysia and later to Singapore with his family while working for Canadian Asamera Oil Company Limited in Indonesia. Later Noel and Lucy moved to Jakarta.

Noel and Lucy spent 12½ years with Asamera before returning to Brisbane in 1980. He spent his years since then taking on consulting assignments, locally and overseas-Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and was active in Queensland in 1993. His interest in petroleum exploration was very broad and it never wavered. He was a member of AAPG and PESA and maintained regular attendance to petroleum associated interests such as Qupex (President in 1970) and the Minerals and Energy Club of Australia.

He played cricket in later years at the Qupex cricket day but his strong interest was golf. He was a member of Caboolture Club but was a stalwart of Qupex Golf, and spent eight years on the Committee doing the onerous job of secretary-treasurer.

He was one of the pioneers of the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association, highly regarded for his vast experience, expertise, common sense and kindness. With all his foreign service, as a linguist, he spoke Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesian and French.

Noel passed away on 21 January 1994 . He is survived by his wife Lucy and three charming daughters. He will be sadly missed by his many friends here and abroad, and within the community and the industry.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

Douglas Mofat Traves and M. J. Gerrard, 'Hoyling, Noel Henry (1921–1994)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 24 April 2024.

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