The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland promotes the study and science of Geography and encourages a greater understanding and enjoyment of the world around us. The Society is a voluntary, non-profit organisation that brings together and welcomes people from all walks of life who share an interest in places, geography and the environment.
Geography and the Society offer pathways towards an understanding of our complex world. As a nation Australia faces major challenges of environmental, economic and demographic sustainability, cultural diversity and the advancement of technology, while maintaining a role as a significant player in global affairs. Geography integrates the study of earth’s landscapes, people, places and environments. Our discipline bridges the natural and social sciences. Geography has embraced the new age of instant communications and rapid advances in technology which affect the way we live, work and play. Satellites transmit remotely-sensed data to computers, ipads and smart phones, making possible accurate and timely analysis and decision-making in fields of national, local and personal importance. Digital mapping techniques developed by geographers have given the world the basis for every GPS in public use today. Geographic insights and literacy are crucial in addressing environmental, geopolitical, economic and national security issues.
Geography is what geographers do
The Society continues to offer and expand a vibrant program of activities and projects including:
The Geographical Society of Australasia started at a meeting in Sydney, on 22 June 1883, as a branch of London's Royal Geographical Society, which had been founded half a century earlier. The Geographical Society of Australasia (Queensland Branch) was established in July 1885. Within a year, Queen Victoria granted the Society the privilege of using the ‘Royal’ prefix. Since 1885 the Society has pursued its main objective of promoting an interest in and the study of Geography through publications, field-based research projects, public lectures and excursions. For all of its history, the Society has had a presence in Brisbane. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Society had fifteen provincial branches, although some were more active than others (e.g. Roma; Thursday Island). All of these earliest provincial branches had folded by 1940. A Western Branch of the Society operated at Dalby from 1955 to 1963. In 2017, a Sunshine Coast Branch of the Society was established.
|JP Thompson 1884||AC Gregory 1885|
The Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (Queensland Branch) was supposed to be part of a federation of Australian geographical societies. Branches of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia were established in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. The NSW branch ceased activities in the early 1900s and the Victorian branch amalgamated with the Victorian History Society. Only the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland and The Royal Geographic Society of South Australia survived and both continue their promotion and enjoyment of Geography to the present time. The word ‘Branch’ was dropped from the Society’s name in 1900, and this was eventually changed to The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Inc. in 1990, after the Council decided that the society was no longer an Australasian organisation but focussed upon Queensland. Originally the RGSQ had 60 members, mostly from Brisbane, but it soon expanded to include many country members, several prominent women members, as well as honorary corresponding members living beyond Queensland, and other honoraries appointed for their contributions to the Society or geographical science. By the first decade of the 20th century the Society counted 200 or so members.
By the early 20th century the Society had established a pattern of activities most of which would continue to this day: holding monthly lecture meetings, organising excursions and expeditions and publishing journals. The journals, Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (Queensland) published until 1899, and the Queensland Geographical Journal (1900 to 1993), though costly to produce and distribute, were seen as important for showcasing the work of academic geographers, maintaining contact with distant members and for exchanging with other scientific organisations. An initial focus in these publications was the Geography of New Guinea and Melanesia, reflecting Queensland’s territorial ambitions in the region at the time and its dependence on labourers from Melanesia to work its sugar plantations. Another early interest was anthropology (or ethnology, as it was then termed), particularly relating to Australian Aboriginal people. Geopinion, a small publication containing essays on contemporary geographical trends affecting Australia, was issued during 1996 and 1997. Since 1993 the journals have been replaced by monthly newsletters.
RGSAQ (later named RGSQ) at Canarvon George 1955
The Society pioneered the exploration of the Carnarvon Ranges in Central Queensland during the 1940s and 1950s and has sponsored scientific expeditions to different parts of Queensland and northern Australia during the 1990s and 2000s. Tours and treks, including overseas tours, have been an important part of the Society’s activities since 1930. During the period 1995-2017, the Society conducted scientific investigations by scientists into the geography, especially the geomorphology, flora and fauna in locations in Queensland and Australia. Expedition reports were published in the Society’s Geography Monograph Series, No. 1 (1992) to No. 12 (2006), which also contained essays by Thomson Medal recipients.
Since 1926, the Society has erected nearly fifty plaques commemorating a range of events and people, ranging from explorers to the Lambert Centre of Australia. First Day philatelic covers were also issued during the 1950s. The Society has promoted geographical education in Queensland, supporting the establishment of The University of Queensland in 1910, awarding prizes at the State’s universities (since 1970) and has been a major sponsor of the Australian Geography Competition since 1995.
|Ken Sutton 1985|