Charles Arthur BANKS was born on 18 May 1885 at Thames, New Zealand, and educated at the Thames School of Mines, where he gained his D. Eng. Degree. Trained in mine management he worked for various mining companies around the world before settling in British Columbia with his French-born wife. During WWI he and his wife both served overseas. After returning to Vancouver, he became manager of the British Columbia Silver Mines Ltd. In 1925 he co-founded the Placer Development Co., which had mining properties in several countries. His wife was also a prospector and explorer. The couple became extremely wealthy from gold mines in New Guinea and Columbia and they moved between homes in Vancouver, San Francisco and London. In 1937 he was awarded the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America Gold Medal for his work in connection with the aerial development of remote mines. During the Second World War he was the London representative of the Canadian Department of Munitions and Supply (1940-45); and, on his return, became Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia (1946-50). He was president of Bulolo Gold Dredging Co. Ltd. from 1952 and chairman of the Placer Development Co. from 1957.