Remembering Dr Francis Moore

IN MEMORY: Francis 'Frank' Hugh Moore moved to Mittagong in his retirement after a career as a pioneer in the chemical sciences. Photo: Supplied.

IN MEMORY: Francis 'Frank' Hugh Moore moved to Mittagong in his retirement after a career as a pioneer in the chemical sciences. Photo: Supplied.

Folks from as far away as York in England and Dunedin in New Zealand are remembering a Mittagong-based man with a “brilliant, unorthodox mind”.

A revered Highlands pastor, who was formerly an influential chemistry scientist, has passed away.

One of three sons, Francis ‘Frank’ Hugh Moore was born in New Zealand in 1933.

During his career, Dr Moore was a scientist of international standing, attaining his doctorate of philosophy at Oxford University.

He trained as a secondary school teacher and lectured in chemistry at Auckland University before being awarded a three year research fellowship at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell, England in 1959.  

Following his fellowship, Dr Moore spent three further years completing his doctorate at Oxford University, which focused on mapping the structure of vitamin B12 using neutron diffraction.

During Dr Moore’s doctoral study, his supervisor Professor Dorothy Hodgkin was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. 

In 1967, Dr Moore migrated to Australia, taking up a post at the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) as the leader of a neutron scattering research group. 

Dr Frank Moore at Bushland Chapel, Helensburgh, where he worked as a minister for seven years.

Dr Frank Moore at Bushland Chapel, Helensburgh, where he worked as a minister for seven years.

Upon retiring, Dr Moore trained as a community minister with the Uniting Church and was stationed at Bushland Chapel in Helensburgh, where he baptised more than 100 children and adults. 

He also taught courses in nuclear science and climate change at the University of the Third Age in the Highlands and in Nowra. 

After seven successful years, he retired to Mittagong.

But it was not long before Dr Moore came out of retirement again to work as the pastor at Mittagong Uniting Church.

Frank on his 84th birthday in October this year, surrounded by his family.

Frank on his 84th birthday in October this year, surrounded by his family.

He was a much-loved husband to Shonagh and father to Kevin, Helen, Ian and Allan, and a grandfather to Rosemary, Breanna, Lachlan, Stella, Lucia, Kristian, Shari, Vashti and Daniel.

His youngest son, Allan Moore, described his father as possessing a “brilliant and unorthodox mind” and a “love for nature and all its complexities”. 

He is remembered as a keen gardener (rare orchids and fruit trees were his forte), a clever and dexterous crystallographer, and a loving man. 

Dr. Francis Hugh Moore died on Sunday, November 12, 2017 aged 84 years. 

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