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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

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Royal Society of Victoria (continued)

The future of the Royal Society of Victoria and of the sister societies in other States came under review late in 1929. The Victorian Society discussed methods whereby (1) the international status of the Society and of its publications might be increased, (2) Australian papers on a given subject might be made more accessible, and (3) there should be more inducement to publish Australian papers in Australia rather than send them abroad. As a result of these discussions, representations were made to the other societies to consider the following proposals:

  1. The Royal Societies in Australia should combine to form a Federation of State Societies or a Royal Society of Australia.
  2. The Society in each State should hold its own meetings as in the past for the reading and discussion of papers.
  3. In order to conserve State interests, the publication of papers should be divided into six sections, each to be issued under the name of a particular State.
  4. The Federal Council of the proposed new body should co-operate with the National Research Council on matters of common policy.

In reply, the Royal Societies of South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and New South Wales felt that the subject was worthy of further discussion, and suggested that this might take place in Brisbane at the time of the next A.N.Z.A.A.S. meeting. The Royal Society of Western Australia, in dissenting from the proposal, pointed out that if it were to lose its State identity, grave difficulties could arise.

At the conference in Brisbane, it was agreed that there were two insuperable difficulties in the way of carrying out the suggested amalgamation—firstly, the question of library exchanges, and secondly, the probable loss of grants at present given by State governments. With these obvious difficulties in mind, no further action resulted.

Very shortly after this decision, however, a Royal Society of Australia was formed in Canberra, but not as the result of the above deliberations. This immediately raised a storm of protests from the Royal Societies of several States who felt that such action was most unethical and likely to lead to great confusion, not only with overseas authorities but with local government bodies. The formation of the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra at a later date was welcomed by the Royal Societies as providing an institution more nearly approaching their objectives.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australian Academy of Science; Royal Society of New South Wales

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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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