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Science and the making of VictoriaRoyal Society of Victoria
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Early Scientific Journals in Victoria



Dates of Publication






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The Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science (Vict. Inst.) was founded in Melbourne in July 1854 and the Philosophical Society of Victoria (Philos. Soc.) held its first general meeting in the same city in August of the same year. These two organisations amalgamated in June-July 1855 to form the Philosophical Institute of Victoria (Philos. lnst.). The amalgamated body retained this name until November 1859 when it was granted the Queen's permission to change its title to "The Royal Society of Victoria".

The two original organisations each published one volume of Transactions, including proceedings, of their meetings, while the Philosophical Institute published four such volumes before changing its title. The publication dates of these Transactions are important for botanical nomenclature as most of the volumes contain articles by Ferdinand Mueller describing new plant species. Those of the two original organisations are particularly critical as names published in one may need to be placed in synonymy under names published in the other, e.g. Grevillea miqueliana in Trans. Vict. Inst. 1854-55:132 and G. victoriae in Trans. Philos. Soc. 1: 107. The title pages of these two Transactions simply state the year 1855.

To determine dates of publication the original minute books of both the Philosophical Society and the Philosophical Institute, containing minutes of both council and general meetings for the period involved were consulted at the premises of the Royal Society of Victoria. Minutes of the Victorian Institute are not held by the Royal Society or the State Library of Victoria and are probably no longer extant. The unpublished minutes, together with reports of general meetings published in the various Transactions provided the basic data. For the critical years of 1854 and 1855, involving items A to C in table 1, the Melbourne daily newspapers The Age, The Argus and The Melbourne Morning Herald were searched for additional data, as also were letters from F. Mueller to W. J. Hooker of Kew Herbarium, London. Sundry chance finds in journals of that period were also helpful. No attempt has been made to conduct exhaustive searches of other publications or correspondence as the extra effort involved seems unlikely to yield any further useful refinement of data.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Philosophical Institute of Victoria; Philosophical Society of Victoria; Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science

People in Bright Sparcs - Mueller, Dr Ferdinand

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Aston, Helen 1984, 'Publication Dates of Early Scientific Journals in Victoria', Muelleria, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 281-288.

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