The Royal Society of Queensland is the senior learned society in the State, founded in 1884.   It traces its ancestry to the Royal Society of London, founded in 1660. Royal Societies have been established independently in every State: see link .
The Society seeks to increase respect for intellectual inquiry. It encourages original research and the application of evidence-based method to policy-making. The Society advocates on behalf of science and provides a forum for scientists and lay people to involve themselves in the progress of science in society, with ‘science’ defined broadly. The Society networks between disciplinary specialists, government and the community; holds events crossing jurisdictional and sectoral silos; and publishes the annual Proceedings, a journal of record, now in its 124th volume.
Membership: There are no educational or professional barriers to membership. The Membership page offers a portal for digital enrolment and renewal.
Queensland Science Network: The Queensland Science Network is a collaboration between some 25 not-for-profit scientific and naturalists’ societies. Its website is a portal to each group and their events.
Queensland Policy Network: The Queensland Policy Network is a nascent forum to foster dialogue within Queensland’s policy community. It seeks to counter ‘fake news’ and policy-making based upon ideology, preconceived positions or single-disciplinary enthusiasms.


Recent News

Native vegetation management

In April 2020 Members Philippa England and Nelson Quinn of Griffith University’s Law School trialled an online survey with a small number of stakeholders interested in the operation of Queensland’s Vegetation Management Act. Respondents were mostly current or previous landholders but other interested persons were invited to respond as well. Respondents were asked to comment on the following topics:

  • Mapping
  • Impact on land management
  • Authorised clearing activities including the codes
  • Area management plans
  • Economic impacts
  • Conservation areas on your land
  • Other comments; and comparisons with New South Wales.

 A Discussion Paper has been published.

Conservation covenants

Members Philippa England and Nelson Quinn of Griffith University’s Law School are undertaking project-driven research on the operation of the Vegetation Management Act in Queensland. The project aims to identify opportunities for incremental improvements to the legislation with a view to modernising its approach and aligning its goals and functions with ongoing developments in, for instance, markets for natural capital and ecosystem services. Pursuant to this research, they have compiled a table of some existing voluntary programs and schemes which support private landholders who wish to dedicate or manage some of their land for conservation purposes. The information is limited to key programs operating in Queensland, New South Wales and at the Commonwealth level. A good source of additional information, covering all Australian jurisdictions, is Australia’s Nature Hub . This platform provides an online hub for funding programs and schemes of interest.

Planning in Queensland

Member Dr Philippa England has published a new edition of her landmark book Planning in Queensland: Law, Policy and Practice with Amy McInerney.

The book takes a fresh look at the operation of planning law in Queensland, incorporating insights based on current debates and reforms to the relevant law. As with its predecessors, this new text explains the main features of Queensland’s principal planning statute, now the Planning Act 2016, and brings the features of this highly technical statute to life with a variety of case studies drawn from planning documents and legal sources. More details on the publisher’s website.


Proceedings 124 now published

Volume 124 of the Proceedings of The Royal Society of Queensland has been completed and printed. For the first time since the journal was launched in 1884, the annual volume has been published online with open access. Copies are available for $35 plus postage – contact rsocqld@gmail.com.

The Proceedings is the pre-eminent peer-reviewed journal publishing general Queensland science. The Honorary Editor is now accepting papers for the next annual edition, with a revised manuscript deadline of 31 July.


Presidential Address

Timms, B. et al  The ecology of gnammas (weathering pits) on the Stanthorpe Plateau

Marlow, D. Creating and then abolishing bodies of scientific knowledge, expertise and analytical capability

Alexandra, J. Processes and institutions for scientific independence: Reflections on Land & Water Australia

Rowland, Michael J. By savage hands his steps were stayed! Life and death on the Percy Isles, 1854

Maxwell, S. J. et al Essentialistic Pluralism: The theory of spatio-temporal positioning of species using integrated taxonomy

Anderson, P. Brisbane’s famous early astronomer: Captain Henry O’Reilly

Kemp, A. Changes in the freshwater environments of the Australian lungfish in south-east Queensland

Collins, S. J. et al Revisiting inscriptions on the Investigator Tree on Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria.

Book Review: Feast on Phytochemicals

Obituaries T. Clifford and Ben Lawson

Spanish exploration of northern Australia – Steve Hutcheon

The curiosity of Member Steve Hutcheon – who has an eclectic interest in Queensland’s early explorers and naturalists – was recently piqued upon learning of a letter by one J.E. Richter in The Sydney Morning Herald of 22 June 1872, page 7d, referring to Spanish exploration of northern Australia between 1640 and 1650. Steve Hutcheon is seeking contact from anyone who might have some knowledge of these voyages or is familiar with the Spanish archives. Read more on his Members’ Interest page.

Eungella rainforests – Themed Proceedings now available


The Land of Clouds Revisited – a Special Issue of the Proceedings of The Royal Society of Queensland has been published on the biology and ecology of the rainforests of the Eungella area inland from Mackay. Further details are on our Proceedings page where the full text appears in digital form. Print copies may be ordered by email to rsocqld@gmail.com.

Call for papers for annual Proceedings

Papers are now invited for Volume 128 of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland, 2020.  Details on the Proceedings page. Short communications, student abstracts and opinion pieces are welcome, as well as conventional research articles. This venerable journal has been in continuous print publication since 1884.

Call for papers – download

Ray Specht honoured

The Society is delighted that Life Member Prof Ray Specht has been honoured in the Australia Day awards with the title of Order of Australia. The official citation catalogues some of Prof Specht’s achievements during a remarkable career of more than 70 years of active research, commencing with the 1948 international expedition to Arnhem Land. (See photo of the young Ray Specht preparing for that journey). A summary of his research is included in a “Retrospective” on this website. Congratulations Prof Specht.

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