Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club

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Handwritten rough correspondence by Charles Fenner concerning reforming the Ballarat School of Mines Science Club, Federation University Historical Collection (Cat.No.12080)

The Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club was established by the Ballarat School of Mines.



The Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club was first formed in 1882 (known then as the Ballarat Field Club and Science Society), only two years after the founding of the Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria- the first naturalist's club in Australia.[1] The Ballarat Field Club and Science Society was first presided over by James Oddie and was dedicated to the study and discussion of natural and physical sciences. They met on the third Wednesday of each month and the annual subscription was five shillings.

Rules of the Ballaarat Field Club and Science Society, Established June, 1882
President - James Oddie
Vice-Presidents - William Henry Nicholls, Alfred Mica Smith
Treasurer - Frederick Martell
Secretary - Ferdinand Krause
Assistant Secretary - I.J. Jones
Committee - R. T. Vale, J. Wall, T. Potter, I.J. Jones, R. Lorimer, Dr Whitcombe, Hermann Ritz
The Treasurer and Secretary ex-officio members.
1. This Society is named "The Ballaarat Field CLub and Science Society."
2. The object of this Society is the study of Natural and Physical Science, to be promoted by ordinary meetings, conversaziones, field excursions, and, when deemed advisable, the publishing of its transactions.
3. The ordinary meetings shall be held on the third Wednesday in each month, for the reading of papers, exhibition of specimens, and general business. The executive committee may appoint any other day for the reading of papers and conversaziones, In the absence of the President or any of the Vice-Presidents at general meeting or conversaziones, the members present may appoint a Chairman from among their number.
4. This Society shall consist of ordinary and honorary members. The Subscription from ordinary members to be Five Shillings per annum. Students of The School of Mines to be Associates. None but ordinary members are to be entitled to a vote in the transaction of the business of this Society.
5. Six months after the formation of this Society, and thereafter, candidates for admission must be proposed and seconded by two members at one meeting, and balloted for at the ensuing meeting.
6. The general management of the Society shall be by a President, two Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, and a Committee of seven, five to form a quorum. A Committee meeting may be held on the second Wednesday of each month, for the passing of accounts, and the fixing of dates for conversaziones and excursions. In the absence of the President or any of the Vice-Presidents at the hour appointed for the holding of such meeting, the members present may elect a Chairman from among their number.
7. All the Officers and the Members of Committee shall be elected at the annual meeting in June; they shall retire annually, but be eligible for re-election.
8. The office of any Member of Committee failing to attend three consecutive Committee meetings, without satisfactory reason, may be declared vacant. Vacancies from this or any other cause to be filled up by the Committee at their next meeting.
9. At the annual general meeting a statement of accounts shall be submitted by the Treasurer, and duly certified to by two Auditors appointed at the previous ordinary meeting.
10. At the ordinary meetings business shall be transacted in the following order, viz:-
Minutes of the previous meeting to be read, amended if incorrect, and confirmed
Correspondence to be read.
Motions of which notice has been given to be considered.
New members to be introduced, and to enrol their names.
Ballot for the election of new members.
Nomination of proposed members.
Communications from the Committee to be considered.
Notices of motion for next meeting to be read by the Secretary.
Presents to be laid on the table and acknowledged.
Papers to be read, and subsequent discussion.
Experiments and specimens to be shewn.
Announcements for next meeting.
11. Members proposing to read papers to send in their names and the names of the subjects to the Secretary, to be considered by the Committee at their meeting previous to the general meeting of conversazione at which the paper is to be read.
12. The Treasurer shall open an account in a bank, and make all payments therein to the credit of the Society's account. All disbursements to or above the amount of 20s. shall be made by cheque, signed by the President, or one of the Vice-Presidents, and the Treasurer.
13. These rules can only be altered by a majority of two-thirds of the m3mbers present at an annual meeting or special general meeting, convened for that purpose by the Committee, or by a requisition of not less than seven members, such proposed alterations or additions to have been submitted to the previous ordinary meeting, and posted up in the room where the meetings are held for one month before they come into effect.
Confirmed 22nd November, 1882.


The Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club was reformed in 1915, its previous incarnation being the Ballarat Field Club and Science Society (formed in 1882). The object of this club was 'the study of Natural History and science in every branch, to be promoted by field excursions and meetings, also by publication of its proceedings when deemed desirable.[3]

Sir, It has been suggested that an effort should be made to reform the once popular Science Club, which in past years was connected with the above institution. The purpose of the club would be to meet fortnightly or monthly & discuss papers contributed by members on matters of scientific interest; also to discuss general scientific matters brought up by members. Field days covered [illegible] also be held, for those particularly interested in Zoology, Botany or Geology. If the club were strong, the matter of a small journal could be considered. We should be glad if you would interest yourself in the proposed club, & also enlist the interest of any friends who have inclinations in that direction. With this object, a meeting will be held at the School of Mines, on Saturday evening, May 15th, at 8 pm., and we hope for your sympathy [illegible] and attendance. Yours truly, Charles Fenner, convener.[4]

A field Club and Science Society connected with The School, now numbering some ninety members, has been established under the presidency of Mr Oddie. Some of its members have already made several excursions to various places of interest in the neighbourhood. At the monthly meetings of the Society, descriptive papers on the specimens collected, the physical configuration of the localities visited, or the country transversed, or some other equally interesting and instructive subject are read. Students of The School are privileged members. The gentlemen filling the chair of Geology at the School, being Honorary Secretary to the Club, frequently accompanies the excursionists, and describes any interesting geological or mineralogical features presented. Professor Smith, Superintendent of Laboratories, is one of the Vice-Presidents, and willing at all times to assist the members by making analysis when required, or affording other information within the scope of the department.[5]

Field Naturalists Club and Science Society - This Association has continued its monthly meetings at The School, as herertofore. Mr W.H. Wooster, of Bolwarra, M.Mic.Soc.Victoria, a member of the club, recently inaugurated a class for instruction in Microscopy, and has undertaken to attend regularly once a month to deliver a course of lectures, for the benefit of students desirous of extending their knowledge of this practically useful and interesting subject.[6]


Ballarat School of Mines


William Wooster, Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No.7706 )

Miss Bailey Committee Member 1917

William Baragwanath Committee Member 1915, 1916, 1917

John Brittain Vice-President 1916-17

C.E. Carter Committee Member 1915

W. H. Collyer Joint Secretary 1916-17

Maurice Copland President 1917

Miss I. Crump Committee Member 1917

A. Doepel

Edward C. Doepel Member 1916

Charles Fenner President 1916-17

Thomas Hart

William Duiguid Hill Member 1916

Charles Hoadley Secretary 1915

Miss W. Joy member 1917

J.B. Matthews Committee Member 1915, 1916, 1917

Miss McRae, Member 1916

L. J. Middleton Joint Secretary 1916-17

Richard W. Richards Joint Secretary 1917

Alfred Mica Smith Vice-President 1916-17

Miss Proctor member 1917

Dr South, Member 1916

G.H. Smith Committee Member 1916

Albert W. Steane Committee Member 1915, 1916, 1917

John M. Sutherland member 1915, 1916, 1917

Henry Sutton

V. Wastall Committee Member 1916

William Williams Vice-President 1893

H.B. Williamson, Committee Member 1915

William Wooster, member 1883


Red Cross Receipt made out to the Ballarat School of Mines Science Club Wild Flower Show, and signed by Mrs F. Ham. Federation University Historical Collection (Cat. No. 7827)

Wild Flowers Show

Syllabus 1915

19 June - 'Our National Park: Wilson's Promontory' by J.E. Kershaw.[7]

03 July - Field Excursion (Geology) to Gong Gong and Warrenheip by Charles Fenner

17 July - Some Interesting Plants - Australites by H.B. Williamson and Charles Fenner

31 July - Field Excursion to Creswick Forestry School by Thomas Hart

21 August - Microscopic Evening

04 September - Field Excursion (Geology) to Black Hill and Little Bendigo.

18 September - Electric Discharges in Air and Rarified Gases by John M. Sutherland.

02 October - Field Excursion (birds) Major Brew

09 October - Field Excursion to Werribee Gorge by Charles Fenner and Charles Hoadley.

16 October - Exhibition of Wild Flowers (Red Cross)

29 October - Chemistry Lecture by Daniel Walker

06 November - Field Excursion (Botany) to Mt Buninyong by H.B. Williamson.

20 November - Antarctica Lantern Lecture

04 December - Field Excursion (astronomy) at the Ballarat Observatory.

Syllabus 1916

25 February - Bees and Beekeeping by H.B. Williamson

18 March - Solar Heat by J.B. Matthews

01 April - Excursion to the Botanical Gardens

08 April - Annual Meeting and lecture on Volcanos by Charles Fenner

06 May - Excursion to Buninyong via Mt Clear

20 May - How a Great Newspaper is Produced by Mt Sweetland of The Age

03 June - Excursion to Burrumbeet

17 June - A naturalist in the Victorian Bush Lecture by Mr D. Le Souaf, Curator of the Melbourne Zoological Gardens

24 June - Excursion to the Ballarat Woollen Mill

15 July - Microscope Evening

05 August - Excursion to Bradshaw

19 August - The Spectroscope and its achievements lecture by Prof. Alfred Mica Smith

26 August - Fish Acclimatization Society Excursion

30 September - Forestry School (Postponed)

07 October - Wild Flower Show

14 October - A Naturalist in the Northern Mallee by H.B. Williamson

01 November - Glaciers and Their Action by Charles Fenner

25 November - Werribee Gorge Excursion

10 March - Water Reserves Excursion

24 March - Exhibition and Discussion of Interesting Objects

14 April - Excursion to Buninyong (Botanical And Geological)

Syllabus 1917

28 April - The Everlasting Hills lecture by Prof. Skeats of Melbourne University

26 May - Notes on Our Forestry with an Exhibition of Timbers by Mr Wardle

09 June - Burrumbeet Excursion

23 June - Diet and Exercise in relation to Health by J.B. Matthews

18 August - Microscopic Evening

08 September - excursion to the Lal Lal Coal and Iron Mines

22 September - Diamonds and Diamond mining lecture by Maurice Copland

13 October - Wildflower Show

20 October - Birds of Australia, illustrated by lantern Slide by D. Le Souef

03 November - Excursion to Werribee Gorge

17 November - Australian Weather by Mr Kennedy

See also

Ballarat Field Club and Science Society

Ballarat School of Mines

Charles Fenner

Victorian School of Forestry, Creswick



  1. Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria,, accessed 8 September 2014.
  2. Ballarat School of Mines Annual Report, 1882,pp. 49-50.
  3. Minute Book of the Ballarat School of Mines Science and Field Naturalists Club, 1915-1918.
  4. Rough Letter - Letter from Charles Fenner regarding Ballarat School of Mines Science Club, 1915,, accessed 08/09/2014
  5. Ballarat School of Mines Annual Report, 1883.
  6. Ballarat School of Mines Annual Report, 1883, p16.
  7. Minute Book of the Ballarat School of Mines Science and Field Naturalists Club, 1915-1918.

Further Reading

External Links

Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club Office Bearers and Syllabus, 1915

Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club Wildflower Exhibition, 1915

c1915 Proposed Club Rules

Document From Ballarat School of Mines Science and Field Naturalists Club regarding Wild Flower Show, 1915

Invoice from Irvine Colter & Co to Ballarat School of Mines Science Club, 1915

Letter from the Ballarat Field Naturalists Club, 1979

Letter from Charles Fenner regarding Ballarat School of Mines Science Club, 1915

Minute Book of the Ballarat School of Mines Science and Field Naturalists Club, 1915-1918

Rough Correspondence concerning the Ballarat School of Mines Science and Field Naturalists Club from Charles Hoadley, 1916

Rough Notes Regarding Subscriptions to the Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club, c1915

State Savings Bank of Victoria - Ballaarat Passbook for the School of Mines Science and Field Naturalists Club 1915-1917

The Victorian Naturalist:

Volume 1, pages 58 and 70-71
Presentations by: W. H. Wooster, Alfred Mica Smith, H. Sutton, F. J. Martell, W. Burbidge, W. Usher, F. M. Krause, Sidney Johnson, A. Doepel, Figgis, Rev. Binks.
Volume 2, page 43
Presentations by: Rev. W. Williams, W. H. Wooster, W. Burbidge, W. Corbould, A. Doepel, Grayson, F. M. Krause, F. J. Martell, Dr Ochiltree, Alfred Mica Smith, H. Sutton, Dr Usher, Miss Wooster.

Written notes concerning the Ballarat Science and Field Naturalists Club, 1917

--Ellen Rochelmeyer 10:42, 4 September 2014 (EST); --Clare K.Gervasoni 14:26, 4 September 2014 (EST)

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