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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 1917 the lease of the land along Exhibition Street, with a frontage of 193 ft. by a depth of 60 ft., was offered to the City of Melbourne Creche for £200 per annum for 30 years, provided that a building approved by the council to the value of £2,000 was erected thereon. This offer was not taken up and the project lapsed.

An extraordinary event occurred in June 1915 when the council expelled from its membership an honorary member—a German professor—as a protest 'against the doctrines and methods of warfare adopted by Germany and Austria'. This rather discreditable action on the part of the Society clearly illustrated the feelings of the time, but surely science must recognize that an individual should not necessarily be held responsible for the actions of his government.

The outbreak of World War I in 1914 brought many changes in the membership and activities of the Society. Two very important recommendations, one a decision affecting the members and one concerning scientists generally, were made early in 1916. These were:

  1. That conscripts of scientific training should be placed where their special qualifications could be used, with proper rank and emolument. This recommendation brought to the attention of the appropriate departments the potential of scientific manpower that was available among such societies. (This policy was also in active operation during World War II.)
  2. That subscriptions of those on active service be held over until after the war. This decision was further implemented in 1920 when the subscriptions of all servicemen were considered paid as up to and including 1920. (The same concession was later applied to those members who served during World War II.)

The periodical difficulties of finance with which the Society had been faced almost since its inception loomed up again in 1922 when it was discovered that printing was 12 months in arrears, with no available funds to bring this essential part of the Society's activities up to date. After considering many possible methods of overcoming this situation, it was decided to ask the government to undertake the printing of the Proceedings and, at the same time, to request authors to condense their papers as much as possible. The government not being willing to undertake the task, it was decided to economize by using a smaller size of type.

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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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