THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF TASMANIA
The object of the Society as stated in our Rules is “The Advancement of Knowledge.” This is achieved by programs of lectures, panel discussions, symposia, events, and by publications and use of the library and collections of the Society. Members come from many walks of life and have a variety of interests. The Society is a generalist association of members who value the opportunity provided to meet, hear and talk to specialists beyond their own field of interest. Present membership is over 350 members from Tasmania, other Australian states and overseas.
Meetings are held monthly in both Hobart, from March to December, and in Launceston from February to November.
Hobart – on the first Sunday of each month, at 3 pm, in the Royal Society’s Rooms in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Customs House, 19 Davey Street (Dunn Street entrance).
Launceston – on the fourth Sunday of the month, at 1.30 pm, in the Meeting Room at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk. Occasionally meetings are held at other times and places. In both centres, the lectures cover a variety of fields of knowledge, mainly about or relevant to Tasmania, and are directed towards the interested lay person and student. Visitors are welcome to attend. From time to time the society organises panel discussions and symposia involving specialists from a variety of fields who direct their attention to a central theme or topic of interest and its importance to the community. Occasionally these discussions and symposia are associated with field excursions, particularly when the topic is a region of Tasmania.
The Society has an extensive library of mainly scientific and historical interest, derived largely by exchange with institutions to which the Papers and Proceedings are sent. Its collection includes a large number of monographs, rare books, significant historical archives, a collection of early maps and very extensive holdings of overseas journals. The collection is particularly strong in nineteenth century books and journals. The library is housed, separately, in the Morris Miller Library at the University of Tasmania in Hobart. Parts of the Society’s collection can also be found in key institutions in northern Tasmania. All members have access to both collections. Members of the Society are entitled to use the University Library on application to the University Librarian. Additionally, the Society has an extensive art collection relating to early Tasmaniana housed and, in part, on display in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart.
Donations to The Royal Society of Tasmania for its Library, Art Collection or Foundation are gratefully received and are tax deductible.
HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY
The Royal Society of Tasmania is the oldest scientific society in Australia and New Zealand. The Society was founded in 1843 following the encouragement of the scientific interests of Sir John Franklin, FRS and was officially signed into existence by Franklin’s successor, Sir John Eardley-Wilmot, a few months after Franklin’s recall. Initially called “The Botanical and Horticultural Society of Van Diemen’s Land”, the name was changed to the “Royal Society of Van Diemen’s Land for Horticulture, Botany and the Advancement of Science” when Sir John Eardley- Wilmot negotiated Queen Victoria’s patronage in 1844. In 1911 the name was changed to “The Royal Society of Tasmania”. A branch was formed in Launceston in 1853. This lapsed after a time, was reconstituted in 1921 and is now very active. Both the current Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery were established by the initial efforts of members of the Society.
Since 1849 the society has published annual volumes of refereed scholarly papers about Tasmania or by residents of Tasmania. These volumes, the Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, are predominantly scientific and are of international standard. They are sent to learned societies, research institutions and universities all over the world. All but the last two years can be accessed on our Published Papers page.
Special publications are also issued from time to time, for example Charles Darwin in Hobart Town, a book produced to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. More recently, for the 175th anniversary of the Royal Society of Tasmania in 2018, two special publications were produced, Poles Apart and the exquisite volume Mapping Van Diemen’s Land. These can be purchased at our online shop.
If you would like to become a member of The Royal Society of Tasmania we encourage you to apply for election to membership. Applying for membership is easy.
Some members decide to take the Papers and Proceedings at an extra cost. Student membership at a lower cost is open to bona fide students. When your application has been approved both by the Council and Membership of the Society, you will be informed and your name will be placed on the mailing list.
RENEWING YOUR MEMBERSHIP
Click here to renew your current membership.