Peter Downes

Curator of Minerals

Earth and Planetary Sciences

BSc (Hons), PhD (UWA)


+61 (8) 9212 3757


In addition to curatorial duties, Dr Downes works extensively in characterising the mineralogy of mineral deposits in Western Australia, including the diamond-bearing alkaline volcanic rocks – kimberlites and lamproites – and the rare earth element-rich carbonatites. Other research directions are in the geochemistry and paragenesis of secondary minerals in the oxidised zones of Western Australian mineral deposits.

Collections: Responsible for the Simpson, MDC and the Museum’s original mineral collections; the Rock Collection; the Gem Collection; and the Meteorite Collection.

Services (to other bodies): Dr Downes is a member of the board of Earth Science WA and editor of the Australian Journal of Mineralogy.

Exhibitions and Public Programs

Dr Downes was involved in the development of the Origins gallery in the new Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip. He regularly gives talks on Western Australian minerals to community groups and at conferences and seminars.

Selected Publications

Downes, P.J., Grguric, B.A., Willing, M., Deacon, G.L., Verrall, M., Grey, I.E. and Mumme, W.G. (2019). Minerals of the Mount Deverell variscite deposit, Milgun Station, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Mineralogy 20(2): 17–36.

Downes, P.J., Stocklmayer, V., Stocklmayer, S. and Fetherston, J.M. (2019). Featured specimen: Brockman tiger eye chert from the Marra Mamba Iron Formation, Hamersley Basin, Pilbara, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Mineralogy 20(2): 42–43.

Grey, I.E., Mumme, W.G., Downes, P.J., Grguric, B.A. and Gable, R.W. (2019). Segelerite from the Mount Deverell variscite deposit, Western Australia. Hydrogen bonding and relationship to jahnsite. European Journal of Mineralogy 31(3): 465–471. doi:

Bevan, A.W.R., Downes, P.J., Henry, D.A., Verrall, M. and Haines, P.W. (2019). The Gove relict iron meteorite from Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 54(8): 1710–1719.

Graham, I.T., Raffan, N., Bottrill, R., Duncan, D.McP., Birch, W.D., Downes, P.J. and Stocklmayer, S.M. (2019). L'état de l'art sur les saphirs australiens. Revue de l’Association Française de Gemmologie 207: 8–21.

Downes, P.J. (2018). Annabergite from the Union Jack gold mine, Coolgardie: a curiosity from the collection. Australian Journal of Mineralogy 19(2): 43–44.

Siversson, M., Cook, T.D., Ryan, H.E., Watkins, D.K., Tatarnic, N.J., Downes, P.J. and Newbrey, M.G. (2018). Anacoracid sharks and calcareous nannofossil stratigraphy of the mid-Cretaceous “upper” Gearle Siltstone and Haycock Marl in the lower Murchison River area, Western Australia. Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology 43(1): 85–113.

Downes, P.J., Deacon, G.L., Grguric, B.A., Bevan, A.W.R., Blockley, J. and Verrall, M. (2017). Minerals of the Northampton lead–copper field, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Mineralogy 18(1): 35–50.

Jorgensen, G.C., Downes, P.J., Deacon, G.L. and Verrall, M. (2017). Wulfenite from the Penny West gold mine, near Youanmi: a new occurrence for Western Australia. Australian Journal of Mineralogy 18(1): 23–34.

Sciberras, M.J., Leverett, P., Williams, P.A., Schlüter, J., Malcherek, T., Welch, M.D., Downes, P.J., Hibbs, D.E. and Kampf, A.R. (2017). Structural and compositional variations of basic Cu(II) chlorides in the herbertsmithite and gillardite structure field. Mineralogical Magazine 81(1): 123–134.

Marshall, D., Downes, P.J., Ellis, S., Greene, R., Loughrey, L. and Jones, P. (2016). Pressure–Temperature–Fluid Constraints for the Poona Emerald Deposits, Western Australia: Fluid Inclusion and Stable Isotope Studies. Minerals 6(4): 130.

Downes, P.J., Dunkley, D.J., Fletcher, I.R., McNaughton, N.J., Rasmussen, B., Jaques, A.L., Verrall, M. and Sweetapple, M.T. (2016). Zirconolite, zircon and monazite-(Ce) U-Th-Pb age constraints on the emplacement, deformation and alteration history of the Cummins Range Carbonatite Complex, Halls Creek Orogen, Kimberley region, Western Australia. Mineralogy and Petrology 110(2–3): 199–222.

Gwalani, L.G., Jaques, A.L., Downes, P.J. and Chalapathi Rao, N.V. (2016). Kimberlites, lamproites, carbonatites and associated alkaline rocks: a tribute to the work of Rex T. Prider. Mineralogy and Petrology 110(2–3): 149–153.

Bevan, J.C., Gwalani, L.G., Jaques, A.L., Downes, P.J. and Chalapathi Rao, N.V. (2016). Dedication to Professor Rex Tregilgas Prider, 1910–2005. Mineralogy and Petrology 110(2–3): 155–157.

Downes, P.J., Demény, A., Czuppon, G., Jaques, A.L., Verrall, M., Sweetapple, M.T., Adams, D., McNaughton, N.J., Gwalani, L.G. and Griffin, B.J. (2014). Stable H–C–O isotope and trace element geochemistry of the Cummins Range Carbonatite Complex, Kimberley region, Western Australia: implications for hydrothermal REE mineralization, carbonatite evolution and mantle source regions. Mineralium Deposita 49(8): 905–932.

Czuppon, G., Ramsay, R.R., Özgenc, I., Demeny, A., Gwalani, L.G., Rogers, K., Eves, A., Papp, L., Palcsu, L., Berkesi, M. and Downes, P.J. (2014). Stable (H, O, C) and noble-gas (He and Ar) isotopic compositions from calcite and fluorite in the Speewah Dome, Kimberley Region, Western Australia: implications for the conditions of crystallization and evidence for the influence of crustal-mantle fluid mixing. Mineralogy and Petrology 108(6): 759–775.

Downes, P.J., McNamara, K.J. and Bevan, A.W.R. (2014). Encounters with Charles Hartt, Louis Agassiz and the Diamonds of Bahia: The Geological Activities of the Reverend Charles Grenfell Nicolay in Brazil, 1858–1869. Earth Sciences History 33(1): 10–25.

Sciberras, M.J., Leverett, P., Williams, P.A., Hibbs, D.E., Downes, P.J., Welch, M.D. and Kampf, A.R. (2014). Paratacamite-(Ni), Cu3(Ni,Cu)Cl2(OH)6, a new mineral from the Carr Boyd Rocks mine, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Mineralogy 17(1): 39–44.

Gwalani, L.G., Rogers, K.A., Demeny, A., Groves, D.I., Ramsay, R., Beard, A., Downes, P.J. and Eves, A. (2010). The Yungul carbonatite dykes associated with the epithermal fluorite deposit at Speewah, Kimberley, Australia: carbon and oxygen isotope constraints on their origin. Mineralogy and Petrology 98(1): 123–141.

Downes, P.J., Ferguson, D. and Griffin, B.J. (2007). Volcanology of the Aries micaceous kimberlite, central Kimberley Basin, Western Australia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 159: 85–107.

Downes, P.J., Griffin, B.J. and Griffin, W.L. (2007). Mineral chemistry and zircon geochronology of xenocrysts and altered mantle and crustal xenoliths from the Aries micaceous kimberlite: Constraints on the composition and age of the central Kimberley Craton, Western Australia. Lithos 93: 175–198.

Downes, P.J., Wartho, J-A. and Griffin, B.J. (2006). Magmatic evolution and ascent history of the Aries micaceous kimberlite, central Kimberley basin, Western Australia: Evidence from zoned phlogopite phenocrysts, and UV-laser 40Ar/39Ar analysis of phlogopite-biotite. Journal of Petrology 47(9): 1751–1783.