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.
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.

Queensland Science Network

The Queensland Science Network , hosted by the Royal Society of Queensland, is a collaboration between more than 20 not-for-profit scientific societies. Its website, though 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 under construction. The site complements the Queensland Government’s science site, www.des.qld.gov.au/science/ . The website for the Network, www.scienceqld.org.au, will be officially launched on 31 October 2018.


Recent News

Prof Angela Arthington honoured

Emeritus Professor Angela Arthington, a member of the Society’s Council, is the 2018 recipient of the Australian Society for Limnology Medal, its highest award. The medal is presented in recognition of significant contributions to freshwater science. Prof Arthington has published widely on river and fish ecology, environmental flows, aquatic biodiversity and conservation biology. She has over 280 publications and almost 20,000 citations to her credit. Angela was a member of the academic staff at Griffith University from 1976 until 2011 and has supervised 35 students at the honours, masters and PhD level. Many of her students have gone on to make a significant contribution to freshwater ecology through employment in CSIRO, local and State Government, as private consultants, in business and in University faculty positions. The citation explains why Prof Arthington justly deserves the award.

Springs of the Great Artesian Basin – Special issue of the Proceedings

The Society intends to publish a Special issue of its Proceedings on Springs of the Great Artesian Basin in late 2019.  This publication is intended to capture articles ranging from historic and contemporary narratives, indigenous perspectives, scientific papers (geohydrology, ecology, management and conservation), thesis abstracts and opinion pieces, up to about 20-30 items. The unique nature of a Special Issue, presented by Queensland’s oldest scientific institution, provides an opportunity to be creative and reflective, and welcome styles of submission beyond the standard scientific format.

Please send ideas and a tentative title and author details to Lead Editor Dr Rene Rossini by the end of October.  Submissions close in April 2019. Proposed themes are explained in more detail on the Proceedings page. The Society has a long tradition  of publishing special themed issues.

Drought policy, drought preparedness

To be resilient in the face of drought requires a pastoral enterprise to be both:

  • resilient in financial conditions;
  • resilient in paddock conditions.

A producer’s financial circumstances are partly a consequence of their own actions, but are played out upon a broader canvas established by policy. Given the present distress faced by many pastoralists throughout Queensland, it is clear that national policy requires recalibration.

On the other hand, a pastoralist’s paddock conditions are largely a consequence of their management actions. Please refer to the Society’s Drought preparedness page for a drought preparedness strategy for individual pastoralists.

Citizen science forum

Three members of the Royal Society of Queensland delivered presentations at the forum “Citizen Science: Challenges and Benefits for Biodiversity Conservation” held on 11 August 2018 by western suburbs-based The Hut Environmental and Conservation Association.

Keynote speaker was Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe AO, who spoke on “The role of citizen science in modern Australia“.


Maggie Muurmans described the work of Beachcare, a collaboration with Gold Coast City Council; and other programs of the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management .

President Dr Geoff Edwards introduced the Queensland Science Network, which offers a platform for publishing citizen science data and reports that are not destined for peer-reviewed publication in a scholarly journal.

The disadvantage of youth

Can teenagers reasonably be held accountable for their actions? If their mothers drank alcohol during the first trimester, possibly even before they knew they were pregnant, they may be suffering from lifelong, irreversible cognitive impairment.

Truly humans are not all born equal. Keynote speaker Dr Malcolm McDonald at the Society’s lunchtime forum on 9 August 2018 explained the metabolic pathway by which our life trajectory may be set while we are still in the womb. This revelation offers an explanation for juvenile delinquency very different from moral failure – and solutions very different from incarceration. Foetal alcohol brain injury is “100% preventable”. See our Community Health page for Dr McDonald’s paper and more details. The page now includes notes of the presentations and discussion.

September 2018 is International FASD (foetal alcohol spectrum disorder) Awareness Month. Those interested in learning more after Dr McDonald’s challenge should note a lunch and seminar to be held on 7 September at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital South Brisbane.

Australian land snails – new book

Member Dr John Stanisic and co-authors have just released Volume 2 of a three-part catalogue of the land snails of Australia.

This 595-page volume in full colour covers 756 species from an area extending from western Queensland across to Western Australia, and north and south. There are more than 2000 colour images as well as descriptions, distribution maps, key localities and notes about habitat. Most species are illustrated  for the first time in colour.

The book complements Australian land snails Volume 1: A field guide to eastern Australian species 2010.

More details on members’ Products, projects and skills page. Copies are available from the Australian Museum, Sydney.

Corinne Unger honoured

Member Corinne Unger was among a  list of distinguished contributors to the minerals industry recognised in the 2018 Awards of AusIMM (Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy).

Ms Unger won the award for AusIMM Professional Excellence. She was nominated by the Community and Environment Society of AusIMM for various committee roles and for policy advocacy on mine rehabilitation and closure and abandoned mines over the years. She was previously the inaugural chair of the Society’s Committee.

The photo shows Ms Unger receiving her award presented at the AusIMM Annual Awards Dinner on 21 April 2018 in Adelaide.

She is progressively populating a page on our website with documents on mine remediation: http://www.royalsocietyqld.org/mine-rehabilitation/.

Spiders book re-published

Society member Robert Whyte has just signed off on the artwork for the third printing of his A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia, CSIRO Publishing 2017, with Greg Anderson co-author. The first printing sold out in under four weeks. This third printing contains about 50 updates, mostly taxonomical changes since 1 June 2018.

A short foreword by Tim Low is followed by an entertaining  preface and a general preamble covering elements of diversity, history, anatomy, biology and shortcuts to identifying spider groups.

Please visit our Products, projects and skills page for details.


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