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From the President - March 2021

18 Feb 2021 1:37 PM | Anonymous

By Iraphne Childs

Dear Members, it now looks promising that Australia’s COVID-19 vaccines will be rolled out in March and April. Queensland continues to be in a fortunate situation with no community transmission. While ever mindful of the continued, albeit low, risk, RGSQ is hoping to resume some trips and activities in 2021. Thanks to the TAAC committee and the Map Group coordinators for planning and organising the year’s events. Check out their programs on the website.  

International Women’s Day 8 March 2021

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated around the world on the 8th of March. In Australia we can recognise the work of many outstanding women scientists and geographers.

Australia’s Chief Scientist: Dr. Cathy Foley, physicist, is the 2nd woman to be appointed to the role of Australia’s Chief Scientist. She took up this position in January 2021. Dr Foley has been involved with climate change, stem cells, health and biosecurity, mineral resources, manufacturing, astronomy, and energy. As well as providing independent advice to Government on science, technology and innovation, Dr. Foley has been keen to engage and share scientific information with the Australian public. She has been regularly posting science news on her website and on her Facebook page. For example, in early February she alerted us to the launch of the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) which has ushered in a new era for radio astronomy. Headquartered in the UK, the SKAO is the world’s largest intergovernmental radio telescope, including 131,072 two-metre-tall antennas located in Western Australia. Researchers hope the SKAO may help find out how the first stars and galaxies formed after the big bang, understand dark matter, and find out more about the universe’s vast magnetic fields.

Australia’s Women Geographers: Most members will probably know the name of famous Australian geographer Griffith Taylor, but did you know that his sister, Dorothy R. Taylor, was also a Geographer? She was one of the first women employed in the Department of Geography at the University of Sydney, where she had completed a Bachelor of Science. In 1925 she established the Geographical Laboratory at the University of Sydney with her brother, Griffith. The Geographical Society of NSW’s Australian Geographer Award for Best Paper is named after Dorothy, recognising her role in establishing and co-editing Australia’s first and longest-running academic geography journal. The award acknowledges the contributions made by Australian women geographers. Today women make a huge contribution to the teaching of Geography in primary and secondary schools and in universities. Many women geographers lead research teams and hold executive positions in local, state, and national professional institutions such as the Geography Teachers’ Associations, Institute of Australian Geographers, and the Academy of Science’s National Committee for Geographical Sciences.

Contributions to RGSQ: The Society’s membership is approx. 50% female with women members participating in and contributing in so many valuable ways to activities on committees and as volunteers. Over its 135-year history, the Society has had three women presidents: Mrs. Henry Robertson, MBE, JP, FRGSA (1944-49); Mrs. Doreen worth (2001-2003) and yours truly, Dr. Iraphne Childs, FRGSQ (2003-2005; 2017-present). The current RGSQ Council of 11 members has five women councillors. To celebrate IWD we asked three young women members to share their thoughts on being Geographers in Australia today - see what they said later in this Bulletin.  


Australia’s Chief Scientist

Square Kilometre Array

Australian Geographer Awards, 2019.The Geographical Society of NSW.

With best wishes

Dr. Iraphne Childs, President

The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Ltd
Gregory Place, Level 1/28 Fortescue St, Spring Hill Qld 4000
Tel 07 3368 2066
ABN 87 014 673 068 | ACN 636 005 068

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