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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

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Royal Society of Victoria



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Royal Society of Victoria (continued)

In 1888 it was decided that the Transactions of the Royal Society of Victoria should be published in the same form, with the same shape and size of plates, as the Transactions of the Royal Society of London, and be kept separate from the Proceedings. In these, original work of members of the Society would be published. To Professor Baldwin Spencer was given the honour of filling the first volume with his monumental work on Megascolides australis, the giant earthworm of Gippsland.

Two other matters of considerable scientific importance also were formulated in this year—firstly, the necessity for a detailed biological survey of the waters of Port Phillip Bay, and secondly, the desirability of the preservation of Wilson's Promontory as a national park. In both of these projects there was active co-operation with the Field Naturalists Club, both in committee and field work.

The Port Phillip Biological Survey Committee is worthy of some attention, as it was one of the most important of the research projects with which the Society had an active interest. Formed towards the middle of 1887, it consisted of seven members (Messrs W. M. Bale, A. W. Cresswell, A. H. S. Lucas, P. N. McGillivray, Baldwin Spencer, C. A. Topp, and J. Bracebridge Wilson), all authorities in some field of the proposed survey. The aims of the committee were many, the chief being:

  1. To make a catalogue of the existing literature relating to the fauna and flora of Port Phillip.
  2. To set up a number (32) of littoral and marine stations of which the life forms of each will be explored.
  3. To prepare an extended catalogue of the plants and animals of each area, recording such details as life history, associations and commercial value.
  4. To have the specimens collected identified by competent scientists, so that published records will be accurate.
  5. To investigate biological problems as may arise from time to time.

It was intended pro tem. that the specimens obtained should be kept at the University under the care of Professor Baldwin Spencer. The council approved an annual grant of £50 to this committee to help defray expenses, and arranged for a display of specimens obtained from the first year's operations at the annual conversazione.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - University of Melbourne

People in Bright Sparcs - Lucas, Arthur Henry Shakespeare; MacGillivray, Paul Howard; Spencer, Walter Baldwin; Topp, Charles Alfred; Wilson, John Bracebridge

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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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