September 09, 2022
The Australian Academy of Sciences honors Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Throughout her reign, Her Majesty the Queen has shown great appreciation for the transformative power of science and technologyand traveled more widely than any other monarch.
After assuming the throne in February 1952, Elizabeth II was Australia’s first reigning monarch to set foot on Australian soil, arriving on February 3, 1954 with her husband HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
A month earlier, Her Majesty had placed her official seal on the founding document of the Australian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Charter, after Royal Society Fellows Sir Mark Oliphant and Dr David Martyn launched a petition for create a scholarly academy in Australia. .
Prince Philip – who had recently become a Royal Fellow of the Royal Society and was a strong supporter of science – was asked to present the Australian Academy of Sciences’ new Royal Charter to the petitioners, but he suggested that the occasion was important enough for Her Majesty to introduce the Charter.
On 16 February 1954, the ten members of the Academy’s Provisional Council met at Government House and the Queen presented Oliphant, as President, with the Academy’s Royal Charter – founding the Australian Academy of Sciences.
At the opening of the Shine Dome five years later, His Excellency Field Marshall Sir William Slim, Governor General of Australia, read the following message from Her Majesty The Queen:
“Please convey my best wishes to all assembled at the opening of the Australian Academy of Sciences building on Wednesday. I am confident that the Academy, to which I presented its charter five years ago, will play an important part in the acquisition of scientific knowledge and its application to the progress and welfare of my subjects in the Commonwealth of Australia.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is succeeded by her son, King Charles III.
The Australian Academy of Sciences sends its deepest condolences to the Royal Family. May she rest in peace.
The information and images in this story come from the of the Academy Basser Library and Fenner Archive, which hold a rich historical collection documenting the history of science in Australia. The archives are open to the public by appointment.