At the time of his death, the only field of science still covered by the Professor of Natural Science, Sir Frederick McCoy, was Geology, mineralogy and palaeontology so his replacement, J.W. Gregory, was appointed to the foundation chair of Geology in 1900.
One of the foremost geologists of his day, who added much to the knowledge of Australian inland geology, he accepted a chair at Glasgow University in 1904 in frustration at the poor facilities in which he was expected to work.
He was succeeded by E.W. Skeats, who over the succeeding 37 years would make considerable progress in improving the facilities for Geology. After a protracted struggle, the building now known as Old Geology was opened in 1927.