The Royal Society of Tasmania has been around for more than 170 years and has done a lot for Australia. This is the first such society founded outside of the UK, which makes it quite special.
Its main mission is the advancement of knowledge on the island. However, its goals and the most important work include:
- Promoting Tasmania’s scientific, historical, and technological knowledge, with the benefit of Tasmanians in mind.
- Providing advice for Tasmania-related issues.
- Cultivating the public engagement of Tasmania in the search for knowledge.
- Recognizing and supporting the academic excellence of Tasmania.
How It All Began
The Royal Society of Tasmania was founded on October 14, 1843. The founding happened at a meeting that was led by Sir John Eardley-Wilmot, who was Lieutenant Governor at the time.
At first, the Royal Society was founded as the Botanical and Horticultural Society. The first goals of the society were to develop the physical aspects of the island, as well as showcase its productions and natural history.
Since the society was created under a special act of the Tasmanian Parliament, it could create its own by-laws.
One of the biggest early merits of the society was founding and developing the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. They also founded the Royal Society of Tasmania Museum, which houses natural history pieces, as well as contemporary art pieces.
In 1934, Jane Ada Fletcher, an ornithologist, was the first woman to give a public lecture for other members of the society, which was a big moment for the Society’s diversity and recognition of women.
Today, Kate Warner, governor of Tasmania, is the patron of the society.
The Royal Society Today
In 2017, the society had approximately 350 members from all over Tasmania and all walks of life. The meetings are usually held in Launceston and Hobart. The society is led by a council that includes both ex officio and elected members. There are no limits to who can and cannot become a member of the royal society, as it is open to everyone.
The Royal Society of Tasmania is quite active and organizes a lot of activities where it works on its goals and gathers its members. Some of the more common activities include lectures, panel discussions, excursions, symposia, as well as numerous publications.
For its most successful scholars, The Royal Society has bursaries and awards, which allow them to further develop their knowledge and expertise.
There is also an annual journal published by the society called Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania. This is a peer-reviewed journal where its members can publish their theoretical work.
The Royal Society of Tasmania Library
Another big accomplishment of the Royal Society of Tasmania is the library its patrons and members have established.
A new library was opened in 1930, which housed more than 20,000 books at the time. Today, that number is substantially larger.
The location of the library today is the Morris Miller Library in the University of Tasmania. The library keeps many of the most important written works of the society’s members, along with other books on science and other bits of knowledge.