The Society was formed "with a view to enquiring into the various branches of physical science of this vast continent and its adjacent regions". On his arrival in Sydney late in 1821 the new Governor-General (as he was then called), Sir Thomas Brisbane, was offered and accepted the position of President.
Following a period of informal activity, the Society was revitalised and renamed the Australian Philosophical Society on 19 January 1850. On 12th December 1866, Queen Victoria granted Royal Assent to the Society and it was renamed The Royal Society of New South Wales. The Society was incorporated by Act of the New South Wales Parliament in 1881.
The rules of the Society originally provided that the Governor of New South Wales should be President ex officio. After the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, the Governor-General became Patron of the Society, and the Governor of New South Wales the Vice-Patron. Since 1938, the Society has been under the joint patronage of the Governor-General and the Governor of New South Wales.
Throughout its history, the Society has done much to foster local research particularly in science, through meetings, symposia, publications and international scientific exchange, and has supported and fostered the endeavours of other organisations dedicated to the furtherance of knowledge.
The Society encourages "...studies and investigations in Science, Art, Literature and Philosophy" through the following activities:
The Society's head office is in Sydney and has active branches in Mittagong in the Southern Highlands and Orange in the Central West of NSW. Regular meetings are held that are well attended by both members and visitors.
The Society was incorporated by Act of the New South Wales Parliament in 1881. The Act of Incorporation, Rules and By-Laws are here:
Our most recent annual report can be found here: