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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)

In 1908, an attempt had been made by interested persons to commemorate the late A. W. Howitt, zoologist, geologist, botanist and ethnologist, in some tangible and permanent form. In all, over £100 was raised at that time but, as no concrete ideas were forthcoming, the money was invested. Later, in the year 1923, Sir Baldwin Spencer drew attention to this money lying idle and suggested that active steps be taken in the matter. However, no steps were taken until 1927 when it was decided that the fund should be used for the purchase of rare books on anthropology, petrology or botany for the library, such works to be inscribed 'Purchased from A. W. Howitt Memorial Fund'. It was also decided that the following order of priority be used for purchases: 1st year, anthropology; 2nd year, botany; 3rd year, geology.

The proposal by the National Museum in 1927 that a lecture theatre should be built there for the purpose of public scientific lectures attracted the interest of the council who felt that a combined approach to the government by the two organizations might prove beneficial to having a hall erected on the Society's site. This proposal was not sympathetically received by the trustees of the museum and the matter lapsed.

The earlier work of the Society in relation to the preparation of the International Catalogue of Scientific Literature was brought to the fore again in 1927 when the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research requested the assistance of the Society in the compilation of a catalogue of the scientific and technical periodicals in various libraries. This work has now become essential in all libraries holding scientific and technical journals.

The proposal of the Commonwealth Government that a Commonwealth Natural History Museum be established at Canberra was the subject of a report by a special committee of three, two of whom were members of the Society. At the request of the Commonwealth Government, their report was discussed by council late in 1929 and general approval recorded. However, like so many other worthy projects that have been considered from time to time, no action resulted.

People in Bright Sparcs - 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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