The Royal Society of Victoria convenes Victoria’s science community. It is the State’s oldest learned society and a part of Australia’s intellectual life since 1854. Located in a heritage-listed building at 8 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, the Society provides a dynamic program of lectures, symposia and forums about science.

Membership is open to anyone interested in science, its history and supporting its promotion for the benefit of the community. Public lectures on compelling topics across the disciplines are held each month; you can see our upcoming lectures featured at the bottom of this page, or view the forward program of lectures here. While attendance is low cost, numbers are limited and we recommend booking your place to avoid disappointment; details are available on each event’s page.

Through the RSV Science Foundation, the Society supports community outreach and scientific research through an awards program, recognising lifetime achievements and encouraging early career progression of Victorian scientists through a suite of special honours and prizes. Through management of the Inspiring Victoria program, we help our partners across the state to bring science-themed talks and events to their local communities, connecting people of all ages with scientists and the specialised knowledge they can share.

We support science in the South-East of Australia through publishing papers in our regional science journal, the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria. Papers are peer-reviewed, accepted without charge and published in full colour, online, open access with CSIRO Publishing.

Recent Updates

Mystery Portrait

The RSV’s Mystery Portrait – Solved!


- The Society's long history of convening the science community and promoting science in our state has contributed to a burgeoning archive deposited with the State Library of Victoria, who provide public access to these for the benefit of researchers. Meanwhile, we still maintain quite a few curious documents and objects from our past, squirrelled away in various shelves, cabinets and cupboards, our small archive room and the squeezy spaces beneath the raked seating of the Ellery Theatre. One such object is this mysterious portrait from the mid-20th century, painted in 1961 by Orlando Dutton, depicting a scholar, his medals and a microscope, without any name provided.
Mountain Pygmy Possum

The Bogong Moth Population Puzzle


- An iconic species of the Australian Alps, the mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus) is found in a unique and fragile habitat that is highly sensitive to environmental change. Habitat conservation and genetic rescue-based conservation efforts have allowed some populations to rebound, but the possum is facing new threats, and the species remains Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Bogong moth, a key food source in the mountain pygmy possum diet, has declined in recent years. Efforts to understand Bogong moth biology are underway.
Gold Tops

The Mysterious World of Fungi


- The kingdom of fungi is an important, though often underappreciated, family of organisms which include yeasts, rusts, moulds, smuts, mildews, stinkhorns and mushrooms. Of the vast range of living things on the Earth, fungi make up an impressive 9% of all biodiversity. The immensity of the mighty fungi kingdom and the diversity of fungal organisms and functions means we can’t fit everything into a brief exploration; however, mycologist Dr Sapphire McMullan-Fisher gave us some comprehensive insights to the mysterious world of fungi to share.
dark matter

The Universe and Its Dark Materials


- Dark energy makes up approximately 68% of the Universe and dark matter makes up another 27%. Despite their dominance in the Universe, we are still not sure what they actually are. Alan Duffy investigates how dark matter helps galaxies form and keeps them intact. He uses supercomputers to simulate this process. But the more we learn about the visible parts of the Universe, the bigger the gap becomes between what we predict about the unknown and what we see. He and other astrophysicists are constantly under pressure to gain a better understanding and provide explanations of how dark matter and dark energy are present all around us.
Andy Pitman

Top Climate Scientist Awarded the Royal Society of Victoria’s Research Medal


- In his leadership of CLEx, Professor Andy Pitman convenes scientists from institutions across the nation. Andy has conducted extensive climate science research on land surface models, looking at the impact of terrestrial changes in Australia's climate and the moderation of climate extremes, producing 99 papers of exceptional quality and impact in the ten years up to 2018. He has led two ARC Centres of Excellence with extensive participation in key international, national and government committees. He is an outstanding scientist, and a significant science leader.
Lynne with Possum Repellent

Deterring Possums with Pyrethrum


- After noticing the presence of both brush-tailed and ring-tailed possums foraging around and damaging the plants in her backyard, zoologist and keen gardener Professor Lynne Selwood came up with the idea to develop a substance that could preserve and protect her beloved plants from browsers, i.e., animal species that use trees for their habitat and something that was readily accessible for all to use. During the first five years, she conducted a series of independent experiments, choosing particular plants from her garden that were inedible to possums.