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  • Monday, October 21, 2019 1:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Members,

    The next Members’ meeting is our Annual General Meeting on 17th September. So I would like to make here a few comments on the past year. As the Society’s representative, I have attended events and functions in which I would not normally have had a chance to participate. Being President has enabled me to meet and get to know so many members. I wish to record my sincere thanks for these opportunities and to Councillors and our dedicated office staff without whom I would not have been able to fulfil the responsibilities of the President.

    The past two years has been a period of transition. The Society has overcome major challenges - the search for, and relocation to a new home, following the sale of our Milton premises in December 2017. The move to Fortescue Street took place in September 2018 and then we underwent several months of design and fitting out to make Gregory Place fit for our purposes. Finally, we were able to invite members to the Open Day on 9th April and the official opening by our patron, the Governor of Queensland on 18th July. I would like to once again thank the Gregory House committee and all volunteers and staff involved in achieving this momentous change.

    The on-going process to upgrade the incorporation status of the Society has taken up an enormous amount of time and effort over the past three years. The creation of a new legal platform for the Society from Letters Patent to a Company by Limited Guarantee, and adoption of a new Constitution, was passed at a special members’ meeting on 7th May. The 63-page document required to effect this change has been submitted to the Office of Fair Trading. I commend and thank the tireless efforts of Roger Grimley, Chris Spriggs and Lilia Darii as they have ploughed through the minefield of legal and administrative procedures required to make this transition happen.

    Another important change this year has been the review and restructuring by Council of our staffing. This was conducted from October 2018 in consultation with our existing staff. I believe the resolution we achieved is assisting staff in their work and will enable us to pursue more effectively the Society’s wider goals in promoting Geography in future.

    In dealing with these major challenges over the past 2 years, I have had little time to progress some geographical initiatives that I had planned, particularly the renewed development of the Society’s Scientific Studies and Publications. I hope to have an opportunity to work on these in the future. I look forward to continuing my associations with RGSQ.

    Iraphne Childs, RGSQ President

  • Monday, October 21, 2019 12:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Members,

    June and July were very busy months at RGSQ. The end of the financial year always brings extra work for our Treasurer and our Business Manager. Many thanks to both Chris Spriggs and Lilia Darii for their excellent efforts and many hours of work to complete all the necessary procedures and paperwork for our financial systems in preparation for meetings with our auditors.

    On Thursday July 18th we were pleased to be able welcome His Excellency the Hon. Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland and Patron of RGSQ to officially open Gregory Place, the Society’s new home. His Excellency was particularly interested in the Society’s long history, some of our archival materials, maps and the library. We presented His Excellency with a copy of “A Dream in Trust”, a history of the Society by Peter Griggs, for the Government House library. Thanks to all who helped to prepare the displays for the evening and assisted with information as the Governor toured around the premises. Among the invited special guests who attended were the Hon. Trevor Evans, Federal Member for Brisbane, the Reverend Dr. Richard Martin (a life member of RGSQ), from All Saints Church, Spring Hill, Mr. Geoff Edwards, President, Royal Society of Queensland, Mr. Stephen Sheaffe, President, The Royal Historical Society of Queensland, several past presidents of RGSQ, Associate Professor Patrick Moss and Dr. David Wadley from the University of Queensland School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and some 25 current RGSQ members. It was great to see you all there. Thanks to our Society photographer Kay Rees, for taking photos of the event – see some later in this Bulletin.

    In July we installed a new public address and associated audio-visual system. Many thanks to Ian Francis and the Property committee, for all their work over several months in sorting out what was appropriate for our premises, purchasing equipment and overseeing the installation. We now have a professionally-appointed lecture space which will enable easy listening at our lecture evenings. Both the Society board room and the lecture space can now be hired out for meetings by other societies and organisations.

    In early August Ralph and I will be exploring around the Pilbara region of Western Australia. We expect to see lots of red earth and iron ore mines, stunning landscapes and gorge country, famous Aboriginal rock art and we will be very careful of driving with the road-trains !

    Iraphne Childs, RGSQ President

  • Sunday, September 08, 2019 8:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Members, welcome to winter! In Brisbane we remain relatively warm compared with really cold parts of Australia, but westerly winds at this time of the year can make a big difference to how cold we feel in Southeast Queensland. In early June snow fell near Stanthorpe and the granite belt and wind gusts lowered temperatures across southern Queensland. A wind chill on June 4th caused the apparent temperature at Toowoomba to plummet to minus 5 degrees at 6.00am, and minus 4.4 in Applethorpe at 6:30am. Meanwhile, at the Brisbane Airport the apparent temperature was 1.9 degrees, while the actual temperature was 10.5 degrees due to 46 kilometres per hour wind gusts. Snowfall was also recorded in the Blue Mountains and Central Tablelands in New South Wales, with heavy snow in Alpine areas – good for an early start to the ski season.

    Snow at Pyramids Road near Girraween National Park just after sunrise. ABC News, June 4, photo local resident Glenda Riley.

    Representing RGSQ at Queensland’s Government House: On Monday 10th June, Ralph and I attended a reception to celebrate the official birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On Thursday 13th June, Councillors Neal O’Connor, John Tasker and I attended a reception to launch the Queensland Science Network (QSN), an initiative of the Royal Society of Queensland. RGSQ is a member of the QSN. On both occasions it was a great honour to represent RGSQ.

    Special lecture on Thursday 27th June: "In the wake of the first Australians - Voyaging a Bamboo Raft from Timor to Australia”. This event is presented jointly by the RGSQ and The Royal Society of Queensland. The presenter, Glenn Marshall, a member of the First Mariners organisation, will be part of the team in February 2020 which will construct and sail a bamboo raft from Timor to Darwin, aiming to re-enact the first ocean crossings by people to Australia 70,000 years ago. The presentation will outline details of the voyage plus discussion of archaeological, genetic, rock art and other evidence about the ancient maritime culture in the islands of Indonesia. There will be a charge for this lecture of $5 for RGSQ and RSQ members, $10 for non-members. If you would like to attend this event please register and pay via the RGSQ website.

    Official opening of Gregory Place, Thursday July 18th: RGSQ members are invited to attend the official opening of ‘Gregory Place’, the Society’s new home, by His Excellency the Hon. Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland and Patron of RGSQ. There will be a number of invited special guests as well as RGSQ members attending this event. Please note that as seating for this event is strictly limited, members are asked to register in advance via the RGSQ website. The Governor will arrive at 5pm and, because of the protocols involved with his visit, we ask that everyone attending arrive at RGSQ premises no later than 4:30pm and be seated by 4.45pm. Arrivals after 4:30pm will not be admitted.

  • Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nicole Garofano, UQ Candidate Development Award recipient

    Ms Nicole Garofano, PhD Candidate at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, has received a very competitive University of Queensland Graduate School’s Candidate Development Award. The award focusses on skills which will enhance employment opportunities after the degree and supports travel costs associated with the candidate’s research. Nicole will use her award to travel to London to present a paper at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG) Annual International Conference 27-30 August 2019. Congratulations to Nicole! Her itinerary also includes meetings with sustainability consultants in Manchester and London, 2 weeks with the Asian Development Bank Pacific Division and a return visit to Barbados and St Vincent to present her research findings to fieldwork stakeholders.

    Nicole’s research focusses on Managing plastics waste in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific, the Caribbean and the Indian Oceans. Such states have small land area, limited human, financial and technical resources and few options to effectively manage plastics in both land and marine ecosystems. The plastic used for packaging foods and beverages is manufactured in distant and more developed economies, either as finished products (e.g. packaged rice or biscuits) or raw materials (e.g. plastic to make bags or bottles locally). Nicole is documenting a ‘Plastics System’ - the “flows of plastics” to and through geographically remote SIDS markets. In 2018, she did field work in Vanuatu, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Seychelles, conducting interviews, organising focus groups, packaging audits and field observation to generate flow maps of plastic materials from manufacturers to disposal or recycling.

    Early findings identify opportunities for local innovative entrepreneurship for managing plastics which could generate livelihood benefits for SIDS communities. For example, on Union Island (in the St Vincent and Grenadines archipelago) a school-based collection programme for beverage containers uses the inter-island shipping service to send bottles to St Vincent for reprocessing and sale to secondary plastic markets. In Barbados, plastic beverage containers have been collected for in-country recycling into plastic roof tiles. In Vanuatu local entrepreneurs with trucks have adapted pre-paid waste collection systems, including plastics, removing material from remote villages for disposal at a regulated landfill.

    Garofano, N 2019 (forthcoming), ‘Geography, islands and plastic: how documenting the flows can contribute to change’, presentation to the Royal Geographical Society RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019, London, 27-30 August 2019.

    Garofano, N 2018, ‘Community-Based Recycling in a Small Island Developing State: A Case Study from Barbados’, paper presented to the International Solid Waste Association World Congress, Kuala Lumpur, 22-24 October 2018.

  • Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The SEQ Regional Plan

    By Dr. Bishna Bajracharya

    Dr Bhishna Bajracharya is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning in the Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University. He completed his PhD in Geography and Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Hawaii and has previously worked at the Queensland University of Technology and Australian National University. His major research interests are in urban governance, master planned communities, smart cities and disaster management.

    Dr. Bajracharya’s recent work, funded by the Bond University Faculty Grant, reviews the regional planning process in rapidly growing South East Queensland (SEQ) over the last twenty-five years. In the 1990s, strategic regional land-use planning was initiated in response to growing concerns about the rate of growth and the potential loss of environmental, agricultural and cultural landscapes in SEQ. A cooperative exercise between state and local governments resulted in the first “Regional Framework for Growth Management” in 1995, known as the “SEQ 2001”. In 2005 an updated regional framework became a statutory planning instrument. Periodic reviews of the plan have augmented its sophistication and detail, but the overall planning vision and spatial planning approach to contain and guide growth have remained relatively consistent.

    Framed within the urban containment paradigm, the latest SEQ Regional Plan (2017) establishes specific principles and statutory planning controls to direct the spatial distribution of growth while attempting to preserve natural, cultural and productive landscapes and overall liveability. Identification of desired regional growth patterns, coordinated governance, economic and infrastructure development and Plan monitoring are key attributes of the framework. Major challenges remain for maintaining regional resilience amidst continuing growth pressures in the region. They include greater recognition and delineation of peri-urban areas, integration of regional planning and disaster management and growth management of peri-urban master-planned communities.

    The State of Queensland. Shaping SEQ: South East Queensland Regional Plan (August 2017) Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Brisbane.

    Figure 1. The SEQ Urban Footprint (Source: The State of Queensland, 2017)


    Bajracharya, B. and Hastings, P. (2018) A Regional, Strategic Growth-Management Approach to Urban and Peri-Urban Development in South East Queensland, Australia. Journal of Regional and City Planning, V.29 (3) pp.210-233

  • Friday, May 24, 2019 9:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you to all who attended the special members’ meeting on Tuesday 7 May. It was fitting that this meeting, which dealt with a new legal platform for the Society, was considered at the first general meeting of members held in the Society’s new home, Gregory Place.  

    Transfer of the Society to a Company Limited by Guarantee: The formal notice convening the meeting on 7th May and setting out the specific matters to be considered was distributed prior to the meeting to all members in accordance with the provisions of the current constitution. This meeting was the culmination of much effort that has been underway since the Council initiated, almost two years ago, the upgrade of the incorporation status of the Society from Letters Patent to a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG), including adoption of a new constitution. Two previous meetings in mid-2017 and 2018 were particularly useful in obtaining members’ views on the overall proposal and on the new constitution. The meeting on 7th May passed all resolutions relating to the transfer of the Society to a CLG and the adoption of the new constitution. On behalf of the Council, I’d like to thank Roger Grimley, Lilia Darii and Chris Spriggs who have worked tirelessly to bring this process to completion and also all those members who have contributed to the deliberations on the matter.

    As a CLG we retain the status of “Royal”, so our name continues to be The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland – the only change being from “Inc” to “Ltd”. We also retain our status as a not-for-profit charitable organisation. The process now is to submit various applications to implement the resolutions passed, including an application for registration to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The aim is to have everything completed so that the 2019 AGM can be held under the new regime and constitution.

    First lecture at Fortescue Street: Following the formal special meeting, Vice-President Dr. Peter Griggs presented a very interesting and entertaining lecture on “Taking the Waters” -  mineral springs, artesian bores and health tourism. The lecture was followed and much appreciated, as usual, by delicious refreshments organised by our supper team. I hope this is the first of many successful lecture evenings at Gregory Place.

    Official opening of premises: His Excellency, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, has agreed to officially open our new premises on Thursday July 18th 5.00-6.00PM. We are now making arrangements for this important event and drawing up a guest list to include some local dignitaries. More information on this will be forwarded to members later.     

    Map library: Thanks go to Doreen Worth and Ralph Carlisle who have volunteered to work with Peter Nunan in sorting and cataloguing our collection in the Map Library. Your assistance is much appreciated.

    I look forward to welcoming more members to Gregory Place in the near future.

    Dr. Iraphne Childs, President

  • Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dr Peter Griggs

    Recently, Tracey and I were fortunate enough to spend some time in Israel. We started our trip in Jerusalem, being present in the city over a Friday and Saturday. These two days coincided with Shabbat or the Sabbath which is Judaism’s day of rest. Businesses, government offices, museums, art galleries and libraries start to close soon after noon on Friday. By the time a siren rings out at dusk announcing the start of Shabbat, much of the city had shut down. It is an eerie feeling when a city falls very quiet, as the traffic dwindles and most of its citizens head indoors for festive meals.

    We were staying in accommodation in West Jerusalem, so we decided to go for a walk to see what shops etc. had remained open. Other people who we presumed to be tourists must have had the same idea as we were not alone.  We encountered a few open pizzerias and restaurants, and a Filipino grocery store and restaurant which was being well patronised by Filipinos. The presence of so many Filipinos was puzzling and the next day we asked our guide for an explanation. He explained that Israel has an ageing population* and difficulty attracting workers to the aged care sector. Filipinos can enter Israel on five-year work permits, and now make up a considerable portion of the aged care sector in the country.

    Jerusalem has a population of approximately 800,000. The city sprawls across several hills which form part of the Judean Mountains, an elevated plateau which runs through the centre of Israel. The hills of Jerusalem are bisected by the Kidron Brook, a non-permanent watercourse that is prone to sudden flooding after rain.

    Fig 1. Map showing the three parts of Jerusalem. Source:

    Jerusalem has a complicated internal geography (Fig 1). East Jerusalem is quite hilly and populated by approximately 260,000 Palestinian Arabs. Many live in three to six storey apartments (see Figure 2). Until the Six-Day War or Third Arab-Israeli War (5-10 June 1967), this territory was part of Jordan. Jewish areas, however, have been established in East Jerusalem and it is estimated that approximately 200,000 Jews now live in East Jerusalem.

    West Jerusalem is not as hilly and is that part of the city created mostly after Israel became a separate country in 1948.  Israeli Government Ministries, the Israeli Parliament, and the Israeli National Museum and Art Gallery are located in this part of the city. The third section is the Old City, which was first established c. 1500 BCE, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE and then later rebuilt during the second and third century CE.  Today, it is an area of narrow, winding streets (see Figure 3) and is still surrounded by walls (see Figure 4). The Old City is entered via various gates in the walls (e.g. Damascus; Jaffa; Zion), including one whose name conjures up past city functions (see Figure 5). 

    Fig 2.  A view of East Jerusalem from the Old City, January 2019.  Source: Peter Griggs

    Fig 3.  Some of the narrow streets in the Jewish Quarter, Old City, Jerusalem.  Source: Peter Griggs

    We did not venture into East Jerusalem. This area is what geographers call “contested space.”  As mentioned earlier, this territory was annexed by Israeli after 1967. The Palestinian Authority, created after the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993, claimed in 2002 that East Jerusalem should become the capital of the new state of “Palestine.”  This idea has been rejected by Israel, with successive Israeli governments declaring that Jerusalem is the “complete and united capital of Israel.”

    Most of our time was spent exploring the Old City, which is split into the Armenian, Jewish, Muslim and Christian Quarters.  Access to the Muslim Quarter is regulated so we did not visit that part of the Old City where Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock are situated (can be seen from a distance, however). The other main sites that can be visited include the Western Wall, Herodian mansion ruins, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, King David’s Tomb (reputedly), Via Dolorosa and various Christian churches. 

    Fig 4.  A view of the Old City of Jerusalem taken from Mount of Olives.  The Dome of the Rock, Islam’s third holiest site, is featured in the centre of the image. Source: Peter Griggs

    Fig 5.  One of Jerusalem’s Old City’s gates. The Dung Gate allows entrance into the Jewish Quarter. Source: Peter Griggs.

    We were reminded that Jerusalem has had a violent recent past (and ancient past) when our guide showed as two features. The first was the bullet holes made in the city’s walls by the fighting between the Israeli and Jordanian troops in 1967. The second was the site where archaeological excavations have revealed an almost metre thick layer of ash which the archaeologists have concluded was created after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 CE. 

    For a very readable account of Jerusalem’s complicated history, I would recommend Simon Montefiore’s Jerusalem. The Biography (London: Phoenix, 2011).

    * In 2018, 11.6% of Israel’s population was aged over 65 years of age (Source: CIA World Factbook).

  • Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Todd McNeill

    Growing up I have always had a fascination about Earth and the planets in our solar system which resulted in many questions relating to their origins and the mechanisms which shaped them. For many of my teenage years, geographical, geological and space documentaries, aided by Google fuelled my desire to learn more about Earth and the planets that made up our solar system. However, I reached a point where my education became a bottleneck limiting me from understanding the greater complexities of planetary systems. As result this led me to pursue a degree and future career in physical geography (geomorphology).

    What is physical geography (geomorphology)?

    Geomorphology aims to understand the relationship between landforms and the biological, chemical and physical mechanisms that currently and have historically shaped them. For me Summerfield (1991) best describes geomorphology as, ‘...the science concerned with the form of the landsurface and the processes which create it’.

    The geomorphology disciplinehas been further extended into areas such as landscapes of planetary bodies within the solar system and also the study of submarine features (Summerfield, 1991).

    Why pursue a degree and career in physical geography?

    One of the many benefits of geomorphology is that the disciplines philosophies are carried over many environments, whether that is aeolian, catchment, coastal, glacial or my personal favourite coral reef geomorphology. As a result, my current time studying geomorphology has allowed for me to adventure out and experience many of the magnificent landscapes the world has to offer, including fringing reefs of Middle Island, Tully Gorge and the Atherton Tablelands to name a few.

    The science of geomorphology is also surrounded by many aspects from other allied disciplines, such as geochemistry, hydrology, and climatology to name a few. Pursuing a degree and career in physical geography will provide one with the critical thinking required to piece together the processes that have moulded the landscape in the past and continue to shape it today.

    Studying physical geography also provides advancements in one’s technical skill set in areas such as interpreting satellite data through remote sensing, developing maps and models through geographic information systems (GIS) and plotting models and data using programming languages such as R.

    Economic outlook
    Looking at a career in geomorphology from an economic point of view, according to Australian Governments Job Outlook, geomorphologists looking to work in the environmental science sectors are forecast to see strong job growth over the next 5 years. Other social professionals (geographers) are also forecast to see moderate future growth over the next 5 years.

    Now is a very exciting time to pursue a degree and career in geomorphology. Whether your interest is in a particular environmental setting or just a desire to better understand the landforms surrounding you,I am sure geomorphology will be a very rewarding career. 

    Department of Jobs and Small Business 2019, Environmental Scientists, Australian Government, viewed 06 April 2019,  

    Department of Jobs and Small Business 2019, Social Professionals, Australian Government, viewed 06 April 2019,   

    Summerfield, M.A. 1991, Global geomorphology: an introduction to the study of landforms, Longman Scientific & Technical, Burnt Mill, Essex.

  • Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This year, The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland prize for the highest achieving student in the geography major at the University of the Sunshine Coast was a tie, and the joint winners are Caleb Mattiske and Kent Olive. Both achieved a perfect grade point average of 7.0 out of a possible 7.0.  Caleb is now working in the Northern Territory and Kent has enrolled for his Honours research year.

    The same  award at James Cook University, Townsville was presented to Todd McNeill. Todd has contributed a News article on why one should pursue a career in geography.

  • Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Internal Migration in China
    Dr Aude Bernard

    Dr Aude Bernard is a Population Geographer/Demographer, an ARC DECRA fellow in the Queensland Centre for Population Research, within the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland. Her research interests are in human mobility and migration.

    Dr. Bernard works closely with the Asian Demographic Research Institute (ADRI) to advance understanding of migration behaviour in Asia and its socio-demographic impact on societies. One of the countries that Dr. Bernard has been researching is China using a cohort perspective to analyse migration levels, patterns and reasons for moving in China for cohorts born between 1935 and 1974. She applies this approach to migration histories retrospectively collected as part of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study in 2014. She is also developing migration projections to provide insights into how migration levels are likely to evolve in the coming decades in China. Her research shows modest but rising levels of migration underpinned by a reduction in lifetime immobility and a rise in repeat movement, largely caused by an upswing in employment-related migration. Significant sex differentials are demonstrated that have persisted across successive cohorts.

    Dr. Bernard has recently completed work for UNESCO to establish the association between internal migration and education attainment in countries at various stages of development. In 2016, she was awarded an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) to examine the long-term decline of internal migration rates in advanced economies. This project aims to establish the onset and pace of migration decline and identify the socio-economic causes of this profound shift in human mobility.


    Bernard, A 2017, 'Cohort Measures of Internal Migration: Understanding Long-Term Trends', Demography, vol. 54, no. 6, pp. 2201-21.

    Bernard A., Bell, M, and Zhu Y. (2019) Migration in China: A cohort approach to understanding past and future trends, Population, Space and Place, 2019-e2234.

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