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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)

Miss Neild was duly elected an associate member. This apparently had a marked effect on the membership of the Society as, at the following meeting, it is recorded that the president submitted a long list of names of ladies nominated for membership.

By the end of the year, the membership of the Society had risen to 18 life members, 125 ordinary members, 38 country members, 6 corresponding members, 12 honorary members, and 93 associate members, a total of 292.

Professor Baldwin Spencer, Professor of Biology at the University of Melbourne, was actively associated with the Society at this juncture. Only recently arrived in Melbourne from England, Spencer brought with him all the enthusiasm for scientific research for which he was noted overseas and which played an important part in his appointment as the first Professor of Biology at Melbourne. Through his direct representations to the government, the annual grant to the Society was raised to £500, which proved indispensable to the continuation of its publications. At the same time, his skilled organizing as the first Victorian Secretary of the Melbourne Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science in January 1890 ensured its success. Spencer, in later years, was to exert a profound effect on the affairs of the Royal Society as honorary secretary, president and trustee.

An ethnological section of the Society (Section E) was formed, with the consent of council, in April 1890. The reason given for its formation was that, as traces of the aboriginal race were growing fainter and fainter, the section might be able to save from oblivion many interesting facts and relics. This section was entrusted to the capable hands of Mr A. W. Howitt, secretary of the Mines Department, and Rev. Lorimer Fison, of Essendon, who were shortly to be joined by Professor Baldwin Spencer.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science; University of Melbourne

People in Bright Sparcs - Fison, Lorimer; Howitt, Alfred William; Spencer, Walter Baldwin

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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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