The Annual General meeting of The Royal Society of Tasmania will be held on Thursday 7 March 2024, at 4:30 pm at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Marieville Esplanade, Sandy Bay, Hobart.
All RST members and guests are welcome. Admission is free. Please join us for a complimentary drink before the formalities begin.
Following the AGM, Professor Cassandra Pybus will present a lecture titled: “Morton Allport: the resurrection man of the Royal Society of Tasmania, 1862-1876”. Learn more about the lecture and register here.
Annual General Meeting business summary
1. Approval of RST Rule changes
2. Presentation of the 2023 Annual Report
3. Appointment of Auditor
4. Election of 2024 Office Bearers
Nominations for positions on The Royal Society of Tasmania Council are now open for election at the Annual General Meeting. The following positions are open for nomination:
• Three Council members (for 1- and 3-year terms to be determined by ballot at the first Council meeting after the AGM)
• Honorary Secretary (1 year; may be re-elected)
• Honorary Treasurer (1 year; may be re-elected)
• President (1 year; may be re-elected for 2 years maximum)
• Vice President (1 year; may be re-elected for 2 years maximum)
• Early Career Researcher (3 years)
Nominations must be received by the Returning Officer, Professor Ross Large, by midnight Thursday 29 February 2024.
The nomination form can be downloaded and is also available from the RST Office which is open Thursdays from 9:00 am to 12 noon.
The completed and signed form may be returned by mail to:
The Returning Officer
C/- The Royal Society of Tasmania
GPO Box 1166
Hobart TAS 7001
Or delivered to the RST office at 19 Davey Street
Or a signed and scanned copy may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information, please contact the Honorary Secretary at email@example.com.
The Royal Society of Tasmania invites you to a lecture by Professor Cassandra Pybus on Thursday 7 March 2024, at the Royal Yacht of Tasmania, Marieville Esplanade, Sandy Bay.
The lecture will immediately follow the Annual General Meeting at 4.30 pm.
All RST members, their guests, and the public are welcome. Admission is free. Please register in advance using this link.
“Resurrection man” is the 19th century term for a person who secretly exhumes bodies from the grave to trade or sell for personal gain. In the 1860s and 1870s, stealing remains from graves from Oyster Cove and Flinders Island was an important sideline business for the prominent Hobart lawyer Morton Allport. This illegal activity has not been publicly known in Tasmania despite having been well-documented in his business letterbooks and accessible to researchers for many decades in the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts established in 1972.
Cassandra Pybus is a distinguished historian, author of thirteen books and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She has been the recipient of several Australia Council Fellowships and a Federation of Australia Centenary Medal for outstanding contribution to literature. Between 2000 and 2013 she was Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow at both the University of Tasmania and the University of Sydney and has been Fulbright Professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Texas, and Leverhulme Visiting Professor at King’s College, London. Her current research interrogates the trade in First People’s skeletal remains for her forthcoming book A Very Secret Trade which is the last of a trilogy that interrogates the destruction of the First People of Tasmania, beginning with Community of Thieves, published in 1991, followed by Truganini in 2020 which won the National Biography Award.
Sometime between 1850 and 1860, a Chukchi umialik (a whaling captain), drew a map of the Bering Strait on sealskin. The map was a rich depiction of an animate and changing world, and it included several whaling ships gathered to hunt Aġviq, the bowhead whale. Like the short-tailed shearwater, one of them might have made the long journey from Tasmania.
We are used to thinking of Hobart as an Antarctic gateway, but this talk will turn things around, and examine some of Tasmania’s Arctic histories. How did islanders impact the Arctic regions, and how have this island’s histories have been shaped by Arctic environments, animals, and people?
Following the tracks of migrating animals and the people who pursued them in (roughly) the first half of the nineteenth century, we will look at how Tasmanians were entangled in the shifting politics of dynamic Arctic worlds, and how those threads were woven in turn into the fabric of Tasmanian history. We will also stop with Tasmanians in the places they called home and look at how they used Arctic stories to make sense of their pasts and imagine their futures. Indigenous people and Indigenous networks of trade and information are central to these stories, connecting the Bering and Bass Straits in surprising and important ways. These polar perspectives might help us reckon with the living legacies of Tasmania’s colonial history, a history that includes the changing polar regions that many will never see.
Dr Annaliese Jacobs Claydon was born and brought up on Dena’ina land in Southcentral Alaska. She began her career as a historian and archaeologist with the U.S. National Park Service in two Indigenous-owned Affiliated Areas, the Iñupiat Heritage Center (Utqiagvik) and the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area (Unalaska/Dutch Harbor). She earned her PhD in British and Imperial History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015, after which she worked for the State Library and Archives Service at Libraries Tasmania as an Archivist until 2022. She is now an Adjunct Researcher in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Tasmania. Her first book, Arctic Circles and Imperial Knowledge: The Franklin Family, Indigenous Intermediaries, and the Politics of Truth will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in early 2024.
The Royal Society of Tasmania recently received a grant from the National Library of Australia towards the purchase of museum/gallery standard cataloguing software for the RST Art Collection.
This software program will allow the RST Art Collection to become available online for everybody to see. The catalogue will be an incredible asset for the Society, and to people interested in Tasmanian art, history and culture.
Marley Large and RST Art Curator, Dr Anita Hansen, have been learning how to use the program (eHive) and are now looking for a group of volunteers interested in helping to upload data onto the site. Volunteers will receive training and the use of an online user’s manual.
Uploading the data can be done at home, using your own computer, whenever suits you. It will be up to you how much time you wish to put into the project, which is planned to start in the new year. It will be a great opportunity to support the Society in a venture that will bring it international exposure.
This project will be long-term. There are approximately 950 artworks, each with about 20 pieces of information to upload, so the project will be time-consuming. At the moment, it takes approximately one hour to upload the data for each artwork – and that is just the basic information.
As we progress, the site will be populated with the information on the history and provenance of the artworks that Marley and Anita have worked very hard on for the past three years. It will become an invaluable tool for scholars and researchers.
If you are interested in helping with this exciting project, please contact Anita at firstname.lastname@example.org, to arrange to meet and discuss the project with you.
The Royal Societies of Australia (RSA) is a national organisation established to advocate for the efforts and joint views of Australia’s Royal Societies, and to provide a mechanism for sharing ideas and operational practice among them. All six Australian states currently have operating Royal Societies.
The RSA was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee on 3 August 2007 and the first formal meeting was held in Canberra on 2 February 2008. The operations of the RSA are governed by its constitution which is registered with ASIC. Although in existence for the past 15 years, the RSA has maintained a very low profile and there has been no interaction with The Royal Society of Tasmania for at least the past five years, possibly not for the past 10 years.
The current RSA President, John Hardie AM FRSN (NSW) organised a meeting in Canberra of the six state Royal Societies at the Australian Academy of Science followed by a meeting with the Governor-General at Government House. President Professor Jocelyn McPhie attended representing the RST.
The RSA meeting, held at the Academy of Science allowed very valuable sharing of information on society operations, successes and challenges. RSNSW and RST both have broad goals of advancing knowledge whereas RSV, RSSA, RSQ and RSWA all aim to advance science. RSV is blessed with a full-time staff position paid by the State Government, as well as owning a building and land in theMelbourne CBD.
There was a consensus that the “Royal Society” label is not appealing, either for the state Royal Societies or the RSA. RSSA deals with this problem by combining the initials “RSSA” with the registered trading name of “Science South Australia”. It is worth considering whether the RST might follow a similar pattern, combining the “RST” with a registered trading name such as “Advancing Knowledge Tasmania”.
While all Royal Societies are eligible to be members, at this stage, the RST has not formally joined, pending review of the recently revised constitution of the RSA.
After lunch, the same group reconvened at a meeting at Government House, Canberra, with His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Her Excellency, Linda Hurley. The Governor-General is the Patron of the RSA. Each state Royal Society leader gave a short presentation introducing their society to the Governor-General. The President of the RSA then summarised the role of the RSA and outlined collaborative projects suggested during the morning meeting.
The Governor-General responded with strong encouragement of the activities of the Royal Societies and endorsed the role of the RSA. He believes that the Royal Societies can provide independent expert advice and commentary on major issues facing the nation.
On Thursday 30 November, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) held an event at the Theatre Royal in Hobart to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the TAC. The event was for the Aboriginal community and for non-Aboriginal people and organisations who have supported the Aboriginal community in various ways. The Royal Society of Tasmania was honoured to receive an invitation to this event. As President Prof Jocelyn McPhie and Vice-President Dr Julie Rimes were unavailable, Past President Mary Koolhof attended to represent the Society.
This is Mary’s report:
“On arrival, I felt privileged to be offered an Aboriginal t-shirt marking the event, and to be invited by a leading member of the Aboriginal community to wear the t-shirt immediately. Before the formalities, a senior Aboriginal person told me that the Apology the Royal Society offered to Tasmanian Aboriginal people in 2021 had meant a great deal to her and to many other people”.
“The event in the Theatre Royal took the form of a sequence of moderated forums. Presenters seated on the stage described important stages in the journey of the TAC and answered questions while archival film footage played silently in the background. Attendees were treated to an Aboriginal song, and also a dance performance. Some key achievements celebrated were the establishment of the Aboriginal Legal Service, the revival of palawa kani, and the return of Aboriginal ancestral remains. There was a very respectful stillness from all in the theatre when this process was described, and particularly when the film footage showed Tasmanian Aboriginal people carrying the boxed ancestral remains across the tarmac on their return from overseas.“
“It was an honour to attend this event representing The Royal Society of Tasmania, and to meet more members of the Aboriginal community.”
The RST remains committed to the promises made in the 2021 Apology to Tasmanian Aboriginal People and welcomes opportunities to promote Tasmanian Aboriginal scholarship. To this end, transcripts of three recent RST lectures by Tasmanian Aboriginal leaders, Rodney Gibbins, Michael Mansell and Kerry Sculthorpe have been published in the latest issue of the Papers and Proceedings of the RST.
The RST Honours and Awards Committee recently assessed nominations for the 2023 Doctoral (PhD) Award. This award is intended to recognise recent PhD graduates who have made significant advances in the course of their doctoral research. The value of the award is $1,000 (AUD).
Dr Tobias Stål was selected as the winner of the 2023 RST Doctoral Award. Dr Stål is a geophysicist focusing on understanding Antarctica’s deep and shallow structure and properties. He completed his PhD at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, in 2021. The focus of his PhD research was a study of the Antarctic lithosphere revealed by multivariate analysis.
The Antarctic continent, with an area of about 14 million km2, is larger than Australia; yet due to the ice cover and inaccessibility, its geology and lithospheric structure are to a large extent unknown. Advancing our understanding of the Antarctic continent addresses fundamental knowledge gaps in plate tectonics and understanding the interactions between the solid Earth and the cryosphere.
Dr Stål’s PhD research addressed challenging topics such as the identification of sub-ice lithospheric boundaries, and the determination of a new geothermal heat flow model for the continent of Antarctica. The research was enabled by innovations in computational and statistical methodologies, including the development of a new software library to enable the multivariate approaches that were ground-breaking for Antarctica.
Since graduating, Dr Stål has taken up a Research Associate position in computation physics at the School of Natural Sciences, funded by the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Antarctic Science. He is currently in East Antarctica conducting remote fieldwork until February 2024 as part of his research.
Misha Anstari – “Downhill Walking: A Way Forward in Blood Glucose Management”
Misha Anstari discusses how regular exercise is key to preventing and managing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) as it improves blood glucose control. However, compliance to exercise is poor. Eccentric exercise, which involves the muscle lengthening under load is less metabolically demanding on the body, and may be an attractive alternative to conventional exercise. This research investigates the use of downhill walking (eccentric exercise) on the management of blood glucose control and other health-related parameters. Misha is a professional physiotherapist who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Tasmania. Her research is centered around the use of eccentric exercise to manage blood glucose levels in individuals with type 2 Diabetes mellitus. She earned her Bachelor’s and Post-professional Physiotherapy degrees in Pakistan, where she also worked as a clinical therapist and taught before starting her Ph.D. program at UTAS.
Stan Kaine – “Using AI to Improve Safety at Sea”
Stan Kaine discusses how, in a data driven world, access to up-to-date sea state information that could affect vessel safety is paramount. Research is being undertaken to convert the six degrees of vessel accelerations into sea state to allow unsafe situations to be avoided by both the vessel capturing the data and other ships transiting the area via AIS transmissions or the internet. Machine Learning is a key component in making this information available in near real time. Stan founded a software development company, Point Duty, in 2004 with an initial mission to help track the flow of child abuse material over the internet and assist Law Enforcement to find the perpetrators. The company now has a broader data capture and analytics function. Stan’s degree is in Computer Science, which when coupled to a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering and a Diesel Fitting Apprenticeship gives him a unique insight into boundaries between IT and the “Real World”.
Despite major improvements in risk factor control and clinical care over the last decades, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death worldwide. Although overt CVD may not appear until later in life, the risk factors for CVD begin to develop in childhood and are associated with adverse outcomes in adulthood. Importantly, these risk factors are increasing in prevalence in Australian children, particularly in those who come from areas of social disadvantage.
Rachel’s work aims to identify the determinants of cardiovascular health in childhood and their association with future health; establish tools to detect early CVD risk in young people; and develop effective and acceptable strategies to improve CVH of children who come from social disadvantage, with a particular focus on regions of Tasmania.
Dr Rachel Climie is Research Fellow at the UTAS Menzies Institute for Medical Research, an Exercise Physiologist and advocate for public health. After completing her PhD at UTAS in 2016, Rachel was awarded two internationally competitive fellowships for postdoctoral training in France. Rachel was then awarded a Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to return to Australia and the Heart Foundation’s Paul Korner Award for most innovative postdoctoral fellowship application. In 2022, Rachel was awarded an NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellowship (<10% success rate) and Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship (<15% success rate). Rachel has received over $3.9M ($1.8M CIA) in competitive national and international grant funding. She has published >70 peer-reviewed (39 first/senior author) papers. Rachel has received 7 international and 6 national awards in recognition for her work including Victorian Young Tall Poppy Award for excellence in research and science communication and High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia Young Investigator Award for best scientific presentation by a young researcher.