The Royal Society of Queensland is the senior learned society in the State.   It traces its ancestry to the Royal Society of London, founded in 1660. It issued the first annual Proceedings in 1884. Royal Societies have been established independently in every State: see the website of the Royal Societies of Australia for links.
The Society seeks to increase awareness of and respect for intellectual inquiry in Queensland. It encourages original scholarly research and the application of scientific knowledge and evidence-based method to policy-making and decision-making. The Society provides a forum for scientists and lay people to involve themselves in the progress of science in society, with ‘science’ defined broadly.
The Society advocates on behalf of science but is not politically aligned. It networks between disciplinary specialists, government and the community; holds seminars crossing disciplinary and sectoral silos; and publishes the annual Proceedings. It hosts the Queensland Policy Network, an initiative at an early stage of development.
Membership: There are no educational or professional barriers to membership. Please visit the Membership page for digital enrolment and membership renewal.
Philanthropy: Those who enjoy financial comfort are warmly encouraged to support the Society’s public-spirited activities in a field of their choosing. Please visit the Philanthropy page for opportunities.

Queensland Science Network

The Queensland Science Network, hosted by the Royal Society of Queensland, is a collaboration between some 24 not-for-profit scientific societies. Its website, at an early stage of development, is intended to serve as a portal to each participating group and to a calendar of forthcoming events. The Network has a Facebook page. The site complements the Queensland Government’s science site, www.des.qld.gov.au/science/ . The Network and its website were officially launched on 13 June 2019 by His Excellency the Governor of Queensland. See flyer for more details.


Recent News

Gravestones: Publicly funded research underpins the knowledge economy

“Australia has a long and inglorious record of establishment by governments of valuable, valued and successful science-based initiatives … that address issues of major continuing importance, only to later abolish them. The results are loss of focus, loss of group knowledge, loss of expertise, loss of analytical capability, wasted effort and resources, wasted expenditure and – most of all – wasted opportunity.”

So commences a draft paper by Society member David Marlow entitled Creating and then abolishing bodies of scientific knowledge, expertise and analytical capability: An Australian political malaise . Mr Marlow has made available the Tables from his manuscript, Gravestones , and seeks critical comment from scientists, public servants and others who have personal knowledge of these organisations.

There are four tables:

Table 1: Birth and death of a  sample of scientific initiatives, 1985-2015.

Table 2: Principal function, aim or goal to be achieved by the initiative.

Table 3: Probable reasons for (and rationales used to justify) abolition of initiatives.

Table 4: Epitaphs – achievements in life and the consequences of premature deaths.

See page Draft articles for critical review for contact details. An opinion piece by the President referring to these tables was published in The Mandarin online newsletter on 12 July 2019.

Trevor Clifford’s work lives on

The world of science lost a true scientist and gentleman in the passing of Harold Trevor (Trevor) Clifford PhD DSc FLS FAIBiol OAM, on Saturday 4 May 2019 after a rapid and steep decline in his health.

Professor Clifford was invested as an Honorary Life Member of the Society on 24 March 2017. In his 70th year of scholarly activity, he officiated at the launch of the inaugural round of applications for the Society’s Research Fund, on 5 June 2018. He celebrated his 92nd birthday on 18 April 2019.

The President and many members  attended his funeral on 13 May at Christ Church St Lucia. It was a celebratory affair, as befits a person of such goodwill and scholarly achievements over a long period as Professor Clifford. The Society shares the family’s sense of loss of a gentleman and a scholar in the finest tradition and has assured the family that we will perpetuate his memory.

Our sadness was compounded when we heard that his wife Mrs Gillian Clifford passed away not two months later. Farewell to a couple who were a source of inspiration to an untold number of colleagues, friends and family.

Trevor Clifford’s discoveries will live on. Four of his former associates have compiled a list of his scholarly publications: it runs to more than 10 pages.

Bittersweet News

The Society’s Patron, His Excellency the Governor of Queensland, invested two new Honorary Life Members at an official reception at Government House on Thursday, 13 June 2019.

Dr Ben Lawson, former Secretary and Treasurer, and Ms Cate Melzer, Council member for 16 years, were honoured on account of their long service to the Society. We congratulate them!


But Dr Lawson, seated in the photo, passed away on 23 June. We will honour his memory.

Rangelands Policy Dialogue

A two-day discussion with a difference. See the Dialogue webpage for the program and briefing papers. The event is oversubscribed.

The webpage includes a number of “Rangelands Briefs”, being two-page memos from registrants on topics relevant to the Dialogue. These briefs alone will build into a valuable snapshot of contemporary knowledge of the rangelands and are available for public scrutiny and feedback.

Queensland Science Network launched

The Queensland Science Network was launched  by His Excellency the Governor of Queensland the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC at a reception at Government House on Thursday 13 June. Some 50 guests representing the societies who have joined the network heard His Excellency refer to knowledge published in the first edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland in 1884, including an opinion on whether electricity would ever overtake steam power as a source of motive energy! A copy of this first edition was on display in the room.

Calls for papers and student abstracts

The Society invites authors, including students, to submit manuscripts or dissertation abstracts for any of three forthcoming issues of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland:

General science – standard annual issue, manuscript deadline 1 July 2019; deadline for abstracts of student dissertations, 1 September 2019. See the Call for Papers for the contact details of the Honorary Editor.

Preventative health – Special Issue, focused on the preconditions of well-being and the preconditions of chronic disease and ill-health. This is an opportunity for practitioners to publish observations on what works and doesn’t work in public health and clinical practice.

Springs of the Great Artesian Basin – Special Issue, crossing all scholarly disciplines, theory and practice, science and governance.

The manuscript deadlines for the two Special Issues have passed, but the Editors remain willing to hear from authors who have a paper that is potentially suitable. See the Proceedings page for contact details of the Honorary Editors.

Origins science – Can science really discover the origin of the universe?

Aerospace engineer Phil Andrews is examining whether science possesses tools of inquiry adequate to explore all conceivable explanations of the origin of the universe. Given that it is normal practice to apply ‘Methodological Naturalism’ to ‘Origins Science’, scientists must suppress any notion that what they are observing was supernaturally created.  The concept of supernatural creation is not allowed and so scientists are not free to contemplate that prospect, they must keep to natural explanations regardless of the evidence.  So they become unscientific and break the tradition of independent inquiry. See Mr Andrews’ separate page for an updated brief available for critical review. A fresh version – concluding that a new scholarly journal to publish origins science is warranted – was posted on 15 May 2019.

Leaving a legacy through philanthropy

If anything has become plain through public debate in 2018 and 2019, it has been that it is not sufficient for scientists to publish their knowledge of natural systems in scientific forums. It is also necessary to present that knowledge and its implications for public affairs into terms understood by political and policy leaders.

The Society is custodian of rich resources of knowledge within its members and its publication, but lacks the financial resources to take effective advantage of this depth of scholarship. A Prospectus or table of opportunities is available, with aspirational sums indicated. More information on the Philanthropy page.

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