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Science and the making of VictoriaRoyal Society of Victoria
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The Royal Society of Victoria 1934-1984


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The Royal Society of Victoria 1934-1984 (continued)

The year 1959 was the Centenary Year of the Society and of the publication of Charles Darwin's book The Origin of Species. A Symposium 'The Evolution of Living Organisms' held in the Society's Hall was attended by distinguished scientists from Australia and overseas, and papers presented were printed in a special publication. A Centenary Monument was erected on the Western boundary of the Society's ground. It consists of a granite boulder, a 'glacial erratic', brought from Mawson, Antarctica by the Antarctic Division, then of the Department of External Affairs, bearing a suitably engraved plaque of stainless steel and marks the Society's special interest in Antarctic exploration and research. The monument was unveiled by the Society's Patron, the Governor of Victoria, Sir Dallas Brooks, on 7th December 1959. A silver Medal, to awarded annually for excellence in scientific research in, or on, Australia in various fields, was instituted at the same time. The first award was to the late Dr George Baker for his work on the geology of the Port Campbell coast, on phytoliths, the minute opaline bodies in plants, and on the nature and origin of the small glassy meteorites known as australites.

The Philosophical Institute of Victoria had, in 1857, set up an Exploration Committee, including Members of the Legislative Assembly and Council as well as Members of the Institute, and this Committee made all arrangements for the Burke and Wills Expedition which left Melbourne on 20th August 1860. The centenary of that occasion was marked, on 20th August 1960, by a ceremony at the Burke and Wills monument, which then stood in Spring Street, between Little Bourke Street and Lonsdale Street. Wreaths of a durable nature were laid on behalf of the Society, the Premier, the Lord Mayor, the Royal Historical Society, the Australian Natives Association and the Field Naturalists' Club. These wreaths were, later, conveyed by air to Nappa Merrie homestead and laid at the memorial cairn at Cooper's Creek.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Philosophical Institute of Victoria

People in Bright Sparcs - Burke, Robert O'Hara; Darwin, Charles; Garran, Richard Randolph; Wills, William John

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Garran, Richard Randolph c.1980 'The Royal Society of Victoria 1934-1984', typescript, Royal Society of Victoria papers, State Library of Victoria, MS 11663, item 35/7.

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