Vale James Sydney Bates

May 2nd, 2022

James Sydney Bates, worked at CSIRO for about 30 years until he retired 16 years ago. He passed away on Wednesday, 27th April (post-covid), aged 80.

His funeral will be at Balwyn Baptist Church, 517 Whitehorse Road, Surrey Hills, Victoria, on Monday, 9th May at 10 am, followed by burial at Lilydale cemetery at 1 pm.

His family would appreciate hearing from Alumni members who worked at the former Chemical Technology division at Clayton. Please contact and we will put you in touch with Jim’s wife Lorraine.


A tribute by Jim’s Manufacturing colleagues

Jim will be sorely missed by his colleagues and friends at CSIRO. Jim touched the lives of all his colleagues, including a large number of staff and students who passed through the laboratory. He always was very capable, always friendly and cheerful and very willing to help others. Having worked at CSIRO for a long time and in a number of research areas, Jim was always a good starting point to find the right equipment or person to talk to. He approached his work with a very thoughtful attitude and would often come up with a new idea that we could try.

In the 1970s when Jim was working at RMIT with Professor Bob Shanks they were approached by the CSIRO water research group for help in understanding the chemistry of magnetic resin particles designed for use in water purification. Jim’s work on this project helped unravel some of the complexities of the resin synthesis. In 1978 he joined CSIRO’s Division of Chemical Technology, continuing to work on water purification at the Yarra Bank Road laboratory where the Crown complex now stands. The magnetic resin work led eventually to the MIEX water treatment process, exported by Orica to North America, China and Europe. This process is now used to treat a billion litres of drinking water daily in North America alone.

Later in his career Jim worked on selective membranes for separating valuable organic acids produced from plant sources and on conserving water on papermaking plants before transferring to the surfaces and biomaterials polymer development group.

Jim finished his career at CSRIO on a number of research projects related to the eye, firstly working on coating for contact lenses and then on an implantable contact lens. Jim worked on the extended wear contact lens project from the outset providing the team with support across a whole range of activities. In particular Jim’s role was crucial in the preparation and quality control aspects of coated contact lenses for short term clinical trials with our collaborators at the CRC for Eye Research and Technology and later at the Vision CRC. Jim contributed to the development of two contact lens products. Along with his other duties, Jim was a mainstay in the laboratory, keeping all of the equipment in the lab in perfect running order and operating the equipment with a eye for detail that many others in the team did not possess. Jim often did the jobs that nobody else wanted to do and did them happily.

Jim’s significant contribution to the eye projects was recognised in him being one of the team members awarded a CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement in 2009. Jim retired from CSIRO on the 1st February 2008, but continued to interact with CSIRO through the CSIRO alumni.

Jim will be sorely missed by his colleagues and friends at CSIRO.