He has been closely associated with petroleum and mineral exploration in Australia for many years and is a Councillor and one
of the founders of the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association.
He is Deputy Chairman of Pacific Island Mines Ltd, Chairman of Phoenix Mines Ltd and has extensive private industrial interests. He is a Bachelor of Economics, and Associate of the Australian Society of Accountants and an Affiliate of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
An article describing the life and exploits of John Fuller can be read in the Oil & Gas VIEWPOINT, 10 December, 2003, The Oil Patchpage 13.
Reg Sprigg Medal 2003 awarded to John Fuller
Monday 24 March 2003
The Reg Sprigg Medal is awarded in recognition of outstanding services in promoting the objectives of the industry through valued contributions in and to the Australian petroleum exploration and production industry or through notable and sustained leadership pertaining to the Association. The recipient of the medal this year, John Fuller, is one of the founding fathers of this industry in Australia and also of this Association. Over many years he made an outstanding contribution both to APPEA and to the industry. John is an accountant/economist by training, a company director by profession and a geologist and explorationist by inclination. But foremost he is a true entrepreneur who passionately believed that Australia should become self sufficient in oil reserves at a time when government, industry and the community in general were skeptical of such an outcome. Maybe we need him to come back into public life today since we seem to be facing this challenge again. John had completed two years of a medical degree at Sydney University before war intervened and he joined the armed forces. He was captured and spent most of the war as a prisoner at Kobe Prison camp in Japan. During that time, he was introduced to the petroleum industry by a fellow prisoner from the USA who had worked in Australia.
After the war he completed an economics degree at Sydney University and was admitted to the Australian Society of Accountants in 1955. He took up the night time study of geology and went to the USA at his own expense to become familiar with the oil industry. On his return to Australia John joined the board of Oil Drilling and Exploration, various companies in the Associated Oilfields Group and a small company, Woodside (Lakes Entrance) Oil. One of his big contributions to the future of Woodside was to persuade the company to hire its first full time exploration manager.
In 1957 he formed Planet Exploration and over the next ten years led the charge of Australian junior explorers. It has been said that he energised Australia in the 1950’s and the 1960’s with his enthusiasm, his induction of young people into the industry, his embracing of new technology and the regular column he wrote in the Australian Financial Review.
He was also one of the founding group of ten companies involved in the establishment of APPEA in 1959 and in fact the Association’s first meeting was held in the Planet Group’s boardroom in Sydney. He was one of the founding councillors of APPEA and was made an honorary life member of the Association in 1974.