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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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Philosophical Institute of Victoria (continued)

These tenders having proved most unsatisfactory, the council rapidly lost faith in the architect in question, and sought a new architect with new ideas. The choice, by ballot, happily fell on Joseph Reed, a partner in the firm of Reed and Barnes, Architects and Surveyors, of 9 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. The word 'happily' rather underestimates the position as Reed became famous in Melbourne as the designer of such buildings as the Town Hall, Wilson Hall at the University, the Public Library, the Exhibition, the Scots and Independent churches in Collins Street, and many banks and business houses.

Reed was given the task of providing 'a building restricted to a meeting room with temporary accommodation for a keeper, and that the meeting room should contain 1,800 square feet on the floor and its contents to amount to 40,000 cubical feet'. Again tenders were called and, on this occasion, that of Matthew Taylor for £2,750 was accepted, with the provision that, if external plastering or cementing was required, an additional £350 would be necessary. However, it was decided to do without this latter 'luxury'. Work commenced on this project almost as soon as tenders were accepted in May 1859.

The annual report of the Institute for 1857 drew attention to the fact that no definite steps had been taken as yet towards obtaining a Royal Charter, and recommended that an immediate application be made to Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen to accomplish this.

The period 1857–58 saw one of those happenings that fortunately occur very infrequently in the life of such a society. The occasion in question arose on the presentation of a paper by a council member, William Blandowski, Curator of the National Museum, describing several new species of freshwater fishes collected by him on an expedition he had made into north Victoria. Whether this council member had any bad feelings towards other council members before the presentation of this paper, we shall never know; but one thing is clear, he had many enemies after—and perhaps with good cause. In naming these fishes, he proposed to 'honour' certain members of the council by using their names for the specific names of the new species. This is a common and accepted practice in taxonomy and, provided good taste is observed in its use, is not objectionable. However, for two of these species, named after two very prominent members of council, the following descriptions were used:

Sample N. Slimy, slippery fish. Lives in the mud. Is of a violent bluish colour on the belly. The whole upper surface is of a dirty olivish-green colour, with numerous irregular dark patches.
Sample B. A fish easily recognized by its low forehead, big belly and sharp spine.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Philosophical Institute of Victoria

People in Bright Sparcs - Blandowski, Wilhelm; Reed, Joseph

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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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