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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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Royal Society of Victoria (continued)

Dredging operations commenced at once, and continued over many years with prominent members of the Field Naturalists Club assisting with the work. Reports were regularly submitted to the council, and papers read to the Society setting out details of what had been accomplished. It is to the credit of this committee that so much information on the biology of Port Phillip was obtained in such a short period. When the committee was finally disbanded many years later, the specimens obtained were distributed to various museums and individuals throughout Australia, the valuable Bracebridge Wilson collection of sponges being offered to the National Museum in Melbourne.

The annual meeting of the Society held on 14 March 1890 took on a new form after the council had decided that at the annual meeting of each year, a popular and brief outline should be given by recognized speakers on the progress made in various branches of science during the previous year. At this meeting, short addresses were given on astronomy, chemistry, biology, public hygiene, geology, literature and fine arts.

In 1889 the death occurred of another of the original founders of the Society, Sir William Stawell, who for some time filled the position of Chancellor of the University of Melbourne and was interested in all scientific matters. Another section (Section G, literature and art) was formed during this year. Although its formation was somewhat of a new departure in the history of the Society, it was provided for in the laws.

The nomination of a lady as a member in July 1889 marked a new era in the life of the Society. She was Miss Helen H. Neild, daughter of Dr Neild, honorary librarian of the Society. The president, in giving a ruling on this matter, stated:

After careful search through the laws, the council can find nothing to prevent a lady becoming a member of the Society. I believe the Society was formed on the supposition that ladies as well as gentlemen would become members of it. The ladies had not hitherto come forward to claim their right, but it was improbable that many others would follow the example set by Miss Helen H. Neild.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - University of Melbourne

People in Bright Sparcs - Neild, James Edward; Stawell, William Foster; Wilson, John Bracebridge

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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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