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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)

A statement that the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons was interested in acquiring suitable lecture hall and office accommodation in Melbourne brought fresh hopes to the council of the Royal Society that their site would be suitable for the purpose. Accordingly, negotiations were commenced between the two institutions, whereby the College of Surgeons would rebuild on the existing site a large block of buildings in which the whole of the assets of the Royal Society would be housed in return for a certain annual rental and a long-term lease of the site (999 years). Negotiations were proceeding satisfactorily until, in 1932, the State Government offered the Royal College of Surgeons, at a nominal rental, the old site previously occupied by the Melbourne High School. This offer being accepted, negotiations between the two institutions ceased.

With the Proceedings of the Society approaching its 50th volume, the desirability of compiling a general index to the first 50 volumes became obvious. It was agreed that this work should be carried out on similar lines to that of the Geological Magazine. Failing the obtaining of financial assistance from outside the Society, it was proposed that the work be carried out by volunteers who would each take a number of volumes. This again proving impracticable, the honorary librarian submitted an author index for the period covering 80 years of publications, which was gratefully accepted and published.

The long period of printing the Proceedings by Ford and Sons received a temporary set-back in 1931 when, because of further financial difficulties, the Society was compelled to seek the further assistance of the government. There being little possibility of receiving additional money, the proposal that the Government Printer print the Proceedings at a concession was accepted by the Society. The government finally agreed to accept the responsibility for £100 of work with the printer, the Society to pay the balance. This arrangement continued for a number of years.

The publication in 1935 of the Pitt-Mund report on the libraries of Australia brought the inadequacy of the housing of the library of the Royal Society into prominence. The suggestion that the library be transferred to the Public Library for housing and administration was vigorously combated by the council as not being in the best interests of the Society. However, the report served a very useful purpose as it drew attention to the state of the valuable library and forced the council to take steps to improve its housing by the provision of additional steel shelving.

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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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