S.A. Societies, No. 4
STORY OF ROYAL SOCIETY Famous Men Members of Its Predecessors HELPED EXPLORATION
THE South Australian Literary and Scientific Society was founded in London in August, 1834 a fortnight after the Bill for the establish-
ment of the colony received the Royal as- sent. Among those who signed the form of obligation were many colonists distin- guished for their services in the early days —Dr. John Brown, Thomas Gilbert, Rob- ert Gouger, R. D. Hanson, G. S. Kingston Osmond Gilles, Daniel Wakefield, John Morphett, J. W. Childers, C. G. Everard R. Torrens, J. Hindmarsh, Charles Mann and B. T. Finnis. (sic for Finniss) The S.A. School Society, the Adelaide Mechanics' Institution, and the S.A. Sub- scription Library aimed at similar objects and several attempts were made at amal- gamation, but these associations having fulfilled a useful purpose, vanished from public notice. A partnership was brought about in 1848 between the S.A. Library and the Me- chanics' Institute, from which was born the S.A. Institute, which for 25 years com- bined with the Adelaide Philosophical So- eiety. This was the parent of the Royal Society of S.A., and was formed on Janu- ary 10, 1853. The Philosophical Society On that day five leading citizens of Ade- laide met at the house of Mr. J. L. Young, in Stephen's place. Mr. John Howard Clark, a former editor of The Register, occupied the chair, others present being Messrs. J. L. Young, C. G. Feinaigle- Jones, and Dr. William Gosse. Three preliminary meetings were held in Stephens place, rules were drawn up, the annual subscription was fixed at a guinea (the present fee); and the Adelaide Philosophical Society was founded. Elec- tion of members was to be by ballot, one adverse vote excluding. Among the foundation members were Dr. Edward Davy, a man of extraordinary ver- satility, Charles Mann, the Crown Solici- tor of the day, W. W. R. Whitridge, edi- tor of The Austral Examiner, and later of The Register, and the five already men- tioned. The first ordinary meeting was held on February 21, 1853, at the new City Council Chamber, then situated at the back of the Town Hall. Monthly meetings were held there until the close of 1858, when a change was made to White's Commercial Rooms, where the Majestic Theatre now stands. For many years the Governor was elected as president, but this rule was broken when Sir H. E. F. Young was transferred to Tasmania and Mr. B. H. Babbage was chosen for the post. Mainly because of the exertions of Messrs. B. H. Babbage, Charles Bonney, and A. H. Freeling, a spirited interest was aroused in exploration. The difficulty of finding a suitable leader hampered opera- tions for several years, but the plan of Hack's expedition, in 1857, was almost identical with that advocated by the so- ciety, and in 1858 another Government ex pedition into the interior followed, led by a former president, Mr. B. H. Babbage. The establishment of a S.A. Institute also claimed the early attention of the society, and after much correspondence and many memorials to Parliament, was brought to fruition in 1857. The new building, on the present site of the institute, was opened with great ceremony by Sir Charles Cooper, on Janu- ary 29, 1861. The museum, consisting mainly of a mineralogical collection, occu- pied a long, narrow room running along the upper story of the building. In 1863, because of the efforts of the Philosophical Society, an acclimatization society was established in Adelaide. In 1879 the Government made a grant of £118, which defrayed the cost of the publication of the society's transactions, and left a small balance. Since then the Society has never looked back. Its public- ations have been continuous for 49 years, and are to be found on the shelves of every important scientific society in the world. The Royal Society has many vigorous off- shoots, including the Field Naturalists' sections, the Microscopical and Malacologi- cal sections (lately revived), the Ornitholo- gical Society, and the Aquarium Society. The present officers are: — President, Dr. J. B. Cleland; secretary, Dr. R. H. Pulleine; treasurer, Mr. B. S. Roach. For the material of this article the writer is indebted to Dr. R. S. Rogers.