Alex Copeland

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Alex Copeland passed away on 16th April 2015.  He had lived for over 30 years in Adelaide, South Australia, running the ground geophysical survey company Search Exploration Services with his partner Gerry Bown.  His funeral and the gathering afterwards were held in Carrickalunga, about 100 km south of Adelaide.  It is here that Alex and Gerry have their beloved beachside ‘shack’, and where the Union Jack flies every day except Anzac Day and Australia Day.











Alex started at Fairey Surveys as a draughtsman, but over the years became involved with airborne and ground geophysics, working all over the world.  He was always cheerful, always helpful and very hardworking.  Alex lived life to the full, and made lasting friends wherever he was – things were definitely not boring when he was around.

One of Alex’s old friends, Kim Frankcombe, was at the funeral and the wake, and has sent the obituary, and a copy of the memorial service booklet, which are attached, and some personal notes from the day:-

“The funeral and wake went well with a lot of old familiar faces there, both from my geophysics and rugby past. The church held 80 and both Alex and Gerry had wanted a quiet affair but it was standing room only. The public event at the British Hotel later that night had even more people.

With a large rugby crowd there was plenty of support for the two hymns, the Welsh and English rugby teams’ hymns. Apparently they were a late change as Alex had originally wanted “Always look on the bright side of life” which would also have been very appropriate.

In Nick Sheard’s Eulogy he told the story of bailing Alex out of the Cobar police station after he was caught drink driving after he and Nick had spent three hours with an Eski of beer watching a mechanic weld up his old Hilux. He decided to give the arresting officer the benefit of his thoughts which resulted in him being held for the night. He claims to have spent the night dragging a tin mug across the bars of his cell to let them know he was still there.

There was also plenty of support for Alex being a scary driver from all those who he’d taken for a ride in his E-Type which is now in SA with Gerry.”

Memorial booklet:  AC_Memorial                     Click on the title to open the file (if it displays sideways, download and open with Adobe Reader, then click on View, Rotate)

Obituary:               AlexCopeland_Obit            Click on the title to open the file

Many of Alex’s friends and old colleagues will have their own stories about him (and possibly his cars!) – please send them in on the Comments page, or by email to


4 Replies to “Alex Copeland”

  1. A bit more on Alex’s past. As mentioned, we got to know each other through Bracknell Rugby Club. This would be mid 1970s. I was renting a flat in Maidenhead and the owner’s father had a caravan in Swanage, which they invited me to make use of. When I mentioned this to Alex, he was keen to go, because he had spent school holidays studying the geology of the nearby Jurassic coast. We then discovered that Swanage was a dormitory for Swiss girls in the hotel industry. Alex fell in love with Swanage and the Ferry Boat Inn, and bought himself a cottage there.

  2. Alex was an old friend of mine from the days we played rugby together for Bracknell, Berkshire UK. The last time I saw him was when he stopped over in Singapore on his final trip to see his beloved cottage in Swanage. Sadly I only heard of his demise from Gerry after the sad event, otherwise I would have made it to the funeral. I recall that he died from lung cancer despite being a non-smoker all his life. I wonder if it could be the result of nuclear fallout from the British test at Maralinga in the 1950s, which I believe still lingers. Gerry if you see this send me an email please.

  3. I was deeply saddened by Alex’ s passing. I was doing casual labour work with Alex in 2000, through Northen Employment Service, Mt Isa. Inspirational boss. Since working for Alex I have a degree in Nursing and working towards my masters. Alex was a true leader and his work ethic is partly the reason I am where I am now.

  4. Although I never had the privilege of meeting Alex, I heard all about him from my dear friend Gerry Bown in her many letters. I know she will have many wonderful memories of Alex and hope these will sustain her in her loss. When she hadn’t replied to two of my letters, I feared that there wasn’t a good reason.

    All my love and condolences to Gerry – from Barbara Groves in Northern Ireland (and kids, Aisling and Rory)

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