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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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Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science (continued)

At this public meeting, a committee of six was appointed to hold office until 31 December 1854 and to prepare a constitution which would be submitted to a general meeting on Saturday, 24 June. The six chosen for this task were Captain C. Pasley, R.E., Colonial Engineer; J. J. Moody; W. S. Gibbons, Analytical Chemist; Dr John Maund; F. Sinnett; and A. R. C. Selwyn, Government Geologist; all respected citizens and scientists of Melbourne.

This committee presented their report and rules at a general meeting held, not on 24 June, but on 31 July, and without amendment they were unanimously approved. The laws were based on the observation of the working of similar bodies elsewhere, the main principles of the British Association for the Advancement of Science being used as a model. The first office bearers were—

His Excellency Sir Charles Hotham, C.B.

His Honour The Acting Chief Justice

Captain A. Clarke, R.E., Surveyor-General

John Maund, M.D.

Honorary Secretary:
William Sidney Gibbons

F. Sinnett; E. G. Mayne; Captain Pasley, R.E.; M. B. Jackson; A. R. C. Selwyn; A. K. Smith; George Higinbotham; George Holmes; F. Mueller

The inaugural conversazione of the Institute was held in the Mechanics Institution on 22 September 1854 with the President in the Chair. In his inaugural address, the Acting Chief Justice, Mr Justice Barry, summed up the position in his opening sentence—'We assemble in the vestibule of the Temple of Science, many of us unacquainted one with the other, invited to engage in a course of mutual improvement, and to assist in the cause of general instruction'. Throughout the room were ranged contributions by members, some 33 in all, representative of the objects of the Institute. They varied from cases of gold specimens, to physical and chemical apparatus, to the prize design for Government House, to a model of a steam ferry, to statues. A series of short lectures by such men as Dr Mueller, Dr Maund and Mr W. S. Gibbons concluded the inaugural conversazione.

At the ordinary meeting held the following week, five sections of the Institute were formed, viz.—sanitary economy, engineering, political economy, chemistry, and microscopic investigations. The membership by this time had grown to 82.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Victorian Institute for the Advancement of Science

People in Bright Sparcs - Barry, Redmond; Clarke, Captain Andrew; Gibbons, William Sydney; Maund, Dr John; Mueller, Dr Ferdinand; Selwyn, Alfred Richard Cecil; Smith, Alexander Kennedy

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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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