- 175th Anniversary Program
In October 2018, the Royal Society of Tasmania will be celebrating 175 years – a terquasquicentennial anniversary.
The Royal Society of Tasmania was the first Royal Society to be established outside the United Kingdom
The Society was founded in 1843 by Sir John Eardley-Wilmot, Lieutenant Governor, as the Botanical and Horticultural Society of Van Diemen’s Land. Its aim was to ‘develop the physical character of the Island and illustrate its natural history and productions’. Queen Victoria became Patron in 1844 and the name was changed to The Royal Society of Tasmania of Van Diemen’s Land for Horticulture, Botany and the Advancement of Science. Under the Act of Parliament passed in 1911, the name was shortened to The Royal Society of Tasmania.
Today, with the aim of ‘the advancement of knowledge’, the Society is flourishing and still an important part of Tasmania’s scientific and cultural community.
To celebrate this significant milestone, the Society has put together an inspiring program of events in addition to its usual lecture programs.
30 August 2018
Royal Society of Tasmania Medal Presentation and Lecture
Government House, Hobart
30 September 2018
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) – Inveresk, Launceston
16 October 2018
Government House, Hobart
6 November 2018
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) – Dunn Place, Hobart
10 November 2018
Royal Botanical Gardens, Queens Domain, Hobart
25 November 2018
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) – Inveresk, Launceston
Nov – Dec 2018
Poles Apart Exhibition
Morris Miller Library foyer, UTAS, Sandy Bay Campus
7 Dec 2018 – 5 May 2019
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Dunn Place, Hobart
27 January – 24 February 2019
Lady Franklin Gallery, Ancanthe Park, Lenah Valley, Hobart
March 23–24 2019
Stanley Burbury Theatre – University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay Campus
21 March – 11 June 2019
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Dunn Place, Hobart
- Speakers for the Dinosaur Symposium
Dinosaur “bling” at Lightning Ridge and dinosaur tracks in “Australia’s Jurassic Park” are just some of the fascinating subjects covered by internationally renowned speakers at our upcoming Dinosaur Symposium (23-24 March) hosted by the University of Tasmania.
Here is a sneak preview of the program –
Winton – home of the Big Dinosaur
Dr Stephen Poropat, from Swinburne University, will talk about the dinosaurs of the Winton Formation in Queensland. One recent discovery in Winton proved to be the most complete sauropod ever found in Australia.
Sauropods include among their ranks the largest terrestrial animals that ever lived: some were more than 30 metres long, others more than 13 metres tall, and still others tipped the scales at more than 50 tonnes.
The eventful Precambrian Era
Dr Indrani Mukherjee, from Earth Sciences at the University of Tasmania, will talk about life on very early Earth, the Precambrian Era. This period, spanning from 4500 million years ago to 540 million years ago, is known to record some of the most significant transitions and breakthroughs in the evolution of life. What shaped the course of evolution has always fascinated us. Whether it was the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere and ocean, nutrients in the ocean, or supercontinent cycles, or a combination of all these factors, the question is being thoroughly investigated.
This talk focuses on some of the key biological events in the Precambrian, particularly between (3500 to 800 million years ago) and provides a geological explanation for the cause of these events. The talk ties the geochemical conditions of the ocean and the atmosphere with evolution and diversification of complex microscopic life that facilitated macroscopic life on Earth, including dinosaurs!
Dampier Peninsula: “Australia’s Jurassic Park”
Dr Steve Salisbury, from The Queensland University Dinosaur Laboratory, will talk about the discovery of spectacular dinosaur tracks in the Kimberley region of north Western Australia. An unprecedented 21 different types of dinosaur tracks have been identified on a 25-kilometre stretch of the Dampier Peninsula coastline dubbed ‘Australia’s Jurassic Park’.
According to Dr Salisbury, “The dinosaur track fauna of the Broome Sandstone is extremely significant, forming the primary record of non-avian dinosaurs in the western half the continent and providing our only glimpse of Australia’s dinosaur fauna during the first half of the Early Cretaceous Period”.
Fiery dinosaur fossil at Lightning Ridge
Dr Phill Bell, from University of New England, will talk about the amazing opalized dinosaur bones unearthed at Lightning Ridge in NSW, including the recent discovery of the jaw bone of a small ornithopod. The dinosaur has been named Weewarrasaurus pobeni – a name that recognises the fossil’s unearthing in the Wee Warra opal field, and honours Mike Poben, an Adelaide-based opal buyer who donated the specimen for research.
Like all fossils from the Lightning Ridge opal mines, the lower jaw—the only piece of the animal recovered—is preserved in opal. Precious opal gives off a rainbow of colours, in this case shimmering green and blue. Lightning Ridge is the only place in the world where dinosaur bones are commonly replaced by precious opal.
Evolution: Life on Earth
Professor John Long, from Flinders University, will give us the history of evolution of life on Earth, from single celled bacteria to fishes, then dinosaurs, birds and finally humans. He is an internationally acclaimed exceptional speaker and has led fossil digs all over the Earth. He is currently in Antarctica on a dig, but will be back in time for our symposium.
PaleoArt: dinosaurs in all their glory
Luis Rey is an artist based in the UK who paints dinosaurs in all their glory based on the fossil evidence. He was raised in a family of artists and loved dinosaurs as a kid. He made his first illustrated ‘dinosaur book’ when he was twelve. During the 1980s Luis Rey rediscovered dinosaurs, inspired by a new movement in dinosaur palaeontology now known as the ‘Dinosaur Renaissance’. At that time dinosaurs were starting to be regarded, studied and illustrated as real living animals related to birds—not just as bones in a museum or as movie monsters.
Luis understood that to paint dinosaurs accurately, he had to study palaeontology. Since then, he has devoted most of his life to promoting and popularising scientifically accurate dinosaurs as the forerunners of modern birds. He was one of the first artists to depict dinosaurs with feathers, many years before their fossil feathery traces were discovered. Throughout his career, he has worked in close collaboration with professional palaeontologists, and is a member of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology and of the Dinosaur Society.
- Happy New Year
We will soon be putting up our lecture program for 2019. In the meantime, our 175 Anniversary celebrations continue with exhibitions and events. Please check our anniversary program for more details :-
The family friendly symposium about dinosaurs and the evolution of life takes place at the University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay campus, over the weekend of 23 – 24 March. You can register for the symposium and pay for tickets on our website :
An exhibition of art works by Louisa Anne Meredith at the Lady Franklin Gallery opens on 2 February and goes until the end of the month. The gallery is open weekends only.
An exhibition of the watercolour works of Tasmanian vistas by Francis Guillemard Simpkinson de Wesselow (1819–1906) will be on at TMAG from 21 March – 11 June.
The Dinosaur rEvolution exhibition continues at TMAG until May.
- Christmas Dinner and Lecture
The Royal Society of Tasmania’s 2018 Christmas dinner was held in the CSIRO dinning room at Battery Point on Tuesday 4th of December.
The lecture and dinner were attended by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, the Governor of Tasmania and Mr Richard Warner. The Governor is patron of the Royal Society of Tasmania and the Society has been really spoilt this year by the Governor’s support in both hosting and attending our events.
The Christmas lecture was delivered by Professor Rufus Black.
Rufus Black is the Vice Chancellor and President at the University of Tasmania. Previously, he was Master of Melbourne University’s Ormond College and an Enterprise Professor in the Department of Management and Marketing and a Principal Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. Rufus’ private sector experience includes nine years as a partner at McKinsey and Company, serving clients in Australia and Asia, and as a Director for national law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth. His educational and social sector experience includes being the President of Museums Victoria, the Deputy Chancellor of Victoria University, the founding Chair of the Board of the Teach for Australia Board, a Director of the New York based Teach for All and a Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Rufus worked extensively for government at Federal and State levels. He was a Board Member of Innovation Science Australia, conducted the Black Review into the Department of Defence and the Prime Minister’s Independent Review of the Australian Intelligence Community and was the Strategic Advisor to the Secretary of Education in Victoria. Rufus holds degrees in law, politics, economics, ethics and theology from the University of Melbourne and Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
- Massive Dinosaur Picnic
Saturday 10 November. In the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens the Royal Society of Tasmania put on a dinosaur party, the likes of which have not been seen for about sixty-five million years. The crowds came from far and wide for this Jurassic celebration.
Thanks to everyone who made this great event a great event.
Photography by David WilsonContinue reading →
- Book Launch – Poles Apart
Official Launch by the Governor of Tasmania on 6 November at TMAG
Poles Apart: Fascination, Fame and Folly, edited by Dr Anita Hansen and Dr Brita Hansen, was launched by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. This is the second book created as part of the 175th Anniversary celebrations of The Royal Society of Tasmania.
The publication was produced using images from The Royal Society of Tasmania’s Rare Book collection and features articles composed by 19 international, interstate and Tasmanian scientists and historians. The book investigates and enlightens the reader as to the mysteries, deprivations, endurance and achievements of the heroes who took on the challenges of Arctic and Antarctic exploration.
Poles Apart can be ordered online
or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 25 Nov. – Tasmania’s Forgotten Emus – David Maynard, at QVMAG
The November lecture for the Northern Branch of the Royal Society will take place on Sunday the 25th of November at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Inveresk, at 1.15 pm. The lecture by David Maynard entitled Tasmania’s Lost Emus will be preceeded by the northern launch of the latest Royal Society publication Poles Apart: Fascination, fame and folly.
The Royal Society of Tasmania – 2018 Launceston Lecture Series
Admission: $6 general public
$4 QVMAG Friends, members of Launceston Historical Society and students
Free for members of The Royal Society of Tasmania
Tasmania’s Lost Emus
Tasmania’s extinct emu is less well known than the iconic thylacine, yet just as deserving of recognition. Recent research has aged skeletal material, and DNA work has shed light on the relationships between populations. There are many theories as to why the emu became extinct so soon after European arrival in Tasmania. David Maynard will review the Tasmanian emu and current research results, and discuss the drivers for extinction.
David has been the curator of Natural Sciences at QVMAG for six years, and in that role he works to preserve a record of Northern Tasmania’s biodiversity. Prior to taking this position he was an academic at the Australian Maritime College and University of Tasmania where he specialized in fishing gear technology, by-catch reduction and marine biodiversity. The role of curator has allowed David to do something he enjoys – continuing to learn. He has a growing understanding of terrestrial rather than marine fauna, and is focusing on Northern Tasmania’s insect and spider diversity. He also looks into Tasmania’s past, trying to understand how Tasmania has changed over the last 50,000 years.
The presentation of this lecture is generously supported by
- Dinosaur Picnic
Dinosaur Picnic in the Botanical Gardens, Saturday 10th November 2018, 11.00am to 2.00pm.
A free event for the whole family sponsored by the Royal Society of Tasmania and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.Continue reading →
- Government House Reception for 175th Anniversary
Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania, and Mr Warner generously hosted a reception for Society members on 16 October to celebrate to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Royal Society of Tasmania.
The Governor gave a brief history of the Society and congratulated members on their continued enthusiasm for the advancement of knowledge in Tasmania. (Governor’s remarks)
Royal Society Vice President, Mary Koolhof, responded to the Governor’s remarks thanking Her Excellency for her continued patronage. Mary acknowledged the importance of the Society’s relationships with a number of other Tasmanian institutions, in particular, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and the University of Tasmania. Mary also praised the Society’s recent excellent publications and gave a foretaste of the events organised for the anniversary celebrations. Particular thanks were given to Drs. Anita Hansen and Brita Hansen for lending their considerable talents and effort to create such an outstanding program of the 175 Anniversary.
- RST Doctoral Awards – Nominations Open
The Royal Society of Tasmania Annual Doctoral (PhD) Awards
Nominations are now open for the Annual Doctoral Awards. Two such awards are offered each year. The final date for submitting nominations is 30 November 2018. Awards will be announced at the Society’s Annual General meeting in March 2019.
Nominations should be submitted by email to Royal.Society@tmag.tas.gov.au by midnight November 30 2018.
The Royal Society of Tasmania instituted this Award to honour two young, recently graduated doctoral (PhD) academics who have made significant advances in the course of their doctoral research.
The Awards are made annually for excellence in research in any field within the purview of the Society, including science, medicine, the arts and humanities. The candidates should have been awarded their PhD within the last three years and under the age of 35 at the time of graduation.
The Awards are not restricted to Australian nationals, however, the candidate’s work/research needs to have been carried out in Tasmania or under the aegis of a Tasmanian based organization. The Awards are for work leading to significant advances based on the PhD research. Expressions of interest must include a nomination from the candidate’s supervisor or Department Manager.
Each award is for the amount of $1,000 (AUD) and the awardees are encouraged to address the Society.
Full criteria for eligibility for the Award and submission requirements are set out below or see Appendix C at the Awards and Bursaries guidelines.
The conditions of this Award are:
The Awards shall be made no more than three years after graduation (PhD degree).
To be awarded in any fields – sciences, medicine, arts or humanities – within the purview of the Society.
The Awards are to be for work leading to significant advances based on the PhD research, as evidenced by published or in press peer-reviewed papers in the national/international literature.
The works are to have been largely carried out in Tasmania or under the aegis of a Tasmanian-based organization.
The nationality of the recipients is not to be considered in making the Award, that is, the Award is not restricted to Australian nationals.
The recipients shall be less than 35 years of age on the day of the PhD graduation.
The Awards are to be made available annually, but will not be awarded if there are no candidates of sufficient quality.
Expressions of interest are to be sought widely from all relevant institutions on an annual basis and must include a nomination from the candidate’s supervisor or Department Manager.
Each awardee will be encouraged to address the Society.
The value of each award is $1,000 (AUD).
Applications to be submitted online as advised by the nominated due date.
All applications must include:
A full academic curriculum vitae including the date of birth, the date of receipt of degrees (including the date of PhD graduation) and a full list of published works. The most significant works should be highlighted with an asterisk. Where the candidate’s standing relies on many co-authored papers, the candidate’s roles in those significant publications should be indicated.
An abstract (not more than one A4 page) of the PhD study, including the thesis title.
A letter of nomination from the candidate’s Department Manager and/or PhD supervisor. NB: Applications will not be considered without this document, which must included a statement of the new and original contribution to the field of research.
Receipt of applications must be no later than 30 November in each year. The Awards will be announced at the Society’s Annual General Meeting in Hobart in March, the following year.
- 175 Anniversary Event – Play Reading at QVMAG – The Laughing Gas Cure + Cake
Stella Kent’s one act play, The Laughing Gas Cure, debuted at QVMAG in Inveresk on 30 September to great acclaim.
Set in the 1770s, the eccentric lead character Dr Thomas Beddoes is convinced that consumption can be cured by inhaling the breath of cows. Aided by his brilliant young assistant, Humphry Davy, he embarks on a series of experiments to prove that miraculous cures can be effected by inhaling nitrous oxide. But his friend, the foppish Joseph Banks who has recently returned from his voyage with James Cook, is less convinced. When Banks discards his dandified exterior and sets out to befriend the King and organise the establishment of Botany Bay as a penal colony, the friendship rapidly deteriorates.
In the end both men are bitterly disappointed. Beddoes must finally admit his experiments with gas have failed and nitrous oxide, ‘laughing gas’, is useful only to fuel riotous parties. Banks has poached the brilliant Davy from him, and his wife Anna runs off to London to be with Davy. Banks himself, even though he pulls the strings of Empire, is immobilised by gout, enraged that the experiment that is Australia appears to be failing, and realises that the sense of adventure and original discovery he once experienced in Tahiti are forever over.
The play traces the path of Joseph Banks from fop to gigantic president of the Royal Society, and his manoeuvring to set Humphry Davy on the path of eventually becoming President of the Society. In a harmonious marriage of science and the arts, the play examines the notion of science at a time when anecdotal evidence and natural philosophy was giving way to scientific method, the empirical method of knowledge acquisition involving careful observation, experimental testing and measurement of deductions drawn from the hypotheses.
The play is also full of humour and includes the enactment of early laughing gas experiments and tooth-pulling.
Thee play reading was followed by cake to celebrate the Society’s 175th Anniversary.