||Science and the making of Victoria
Table of Contents
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
Royal Society of Victoria (continued)
During the period 1880 to 1925, a number of scientific societies had been coming into being in and around Melbourne, each with its own headquarters or sharing the offices of others. Several proposals were put forward that the scientific societies of Melbourne should combine in the obtaining of a common meeting place centrally situated in the city. While the Royal Society in 1924 was not satisfied with its own building or site, it was not anxious to accede to the other proposal either, and perhaps with the good hearing that the last approach to the government had received, decided to seek alternative quarters. The proposal made to the Premier on 29 September 1924 was to exchange the existing site of the Society for a suitable site of 100 ft. by 100 ft. of land in St Kilda Rd. which the government had at its disposal, and for the granting by the government of £10,000 to erect a building there. The figure of £10,000 was stated to be the difference in value of the two sites, so that the proposed exchange would be on an even financial basis. The Premier, however, did not receive this proposal sympathetically, and stated that the Society would be better if it remained on its present site. The Society as a whole, on reviewing this matter, came to the same conclusion, but decided to ask the government to improve the existing buildings by the addition of a lecture hall and suitable offices. A change in government at this time placed such proposals in the background for the time being.
The state of the grounds around the building was also causing concern at that time, not only to the Society, but also to the city authorities who, by letter, insisted that the dead trees around the hall be removed and the fences renovated. This was the first step in a series that resulted, at a later date, in the removal of the fence altogether and the taking over of the maintenance of the lawns and garden by the Parks and Gardens department of the Melbourne City Council.
In 1925, a progressive step was made by the Society with regard to its publications by issuing a memorandum for authors in which was clearly set out those rules that were expected to be followed by contributors to the Proceedings. This greatly facilitated the work of the editors and effected an economy in printing.
A notable addition to the council in 1925 was Mr Russell Grimwade who later, as Sir Russell Grimwade, became one of the trustees of the Society. One of Mr Grimwade's first acts as a council member was to present a projector for use in the hall, an instrument which is frequently used at the present day. The value of Mr Grimwade's business ability and experience was evident in the negotiations that immediately followed for the leasing of a certain portion of the site for the construction of buildings that would revert to the Society after a fixed period of years. Like other prospective proposals, however, this also lapsed. Mr Grimwade again showed his generosity by paying the expenses of all these negotiations.
People in Bright Sparcs - Grimwade, Sir Russell
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