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Science and the making of VictoriaRoyal Society of Victoria
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Royal Society of Victoria 1854-1959


Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science

Philosophical Society of Victoria

Philosophical Institute of Victoria

Royal Society of Victoria



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Philosophical Society of Victoria (continued)

At this meeting, a sub-committee, consisting of Dr R. Eades, Dr D. E. Wilkie, Dr F. Mueller, Mr S. Hanaford, Mr F. C. Christy, and Mr S. Wekey, was appointed to draw up a prospectus of the proposed society, together with rules and regulations for its conduct. This was duly carried out and approved by the provisional council, and the office bearers pro tem. were elected at a preliminary meeting held in the Mechanics Institution on 15 July 1854. It was most appropriate that the Surveyor-General should be elected President, and at the same time the Society was assured of the use of the Museum of Natural History at the Crown Lands building for its regular meetings.

Before discussing the composition of the initial executive committee, some details of the prospectus of this Philosophical Society, under date of 1854, are very important, as they had a very great bearing on the later developments of the Society, finally resulting in the formation of the Royal Society of Victoria as we know it today.

It is well to realize that the original full name of the Society was 'The Philosophical Society of Victoria (to be incorporated by Royal Charter)'. The prospectus stated that 'After the grant of the Charter, this Society shall assume the title of The Royal Society of Victoria', and it is clearly evident that those who were instrumental in its formation were basing their organization on that of the Royal Society of London, a society with which many of the organizers were clearly familiar.

The object of this new society, as defined in the original prospectus, was stated very simply as 'embracing the whole field of science, with a special reference to the cultivation of those departments that are calculated to develop the natural resources of the country'. This simple statement of objective, so different from that of its fellow Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science, gave an early indication of the way in which it was proposed the new society would develop, i.e. the formation of separate departments or committees within the Society, to specialize in some particular field of work.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Philosophical Society of Victoria; Royal Society of Victoria; Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science

People in Bright Sparcs - Eades, Dr Richard; Wilkie, David Elliot

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Pescott, R. T. M. 1961 'The Royal Society of Victoria from then, 1854 to now, 1959', Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, vol. 73, no. 7, pp. 1-40.

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