This page describes the Society’s governance and includes the following matters, accessible from the links below:

Governance Arrangements

The current governance arrangements date from the formal incorporation of the Royal Society of New South Wales by an Act of the New South Wales Parliament in 1881.  (For the period from 1821 to 1881, see History.)

The Society is governed by a Council that is elected annually. The Council manages all the Society’s business in accordance with its Act and Rules.

Under the present Rules and By-laws, the Council consists of the President, three Vice-Presidents (one of whom is the immediate past-President), the Treasurer, the General Secretary (who is responsible for minute-taking and membership matters), the Editorial Secretary (who edits the Journal and Proceedings), the Librarian, the Webmaster, the chairperson or nominee of each of the branches, up to ten Councillors, and representatives of the Hunter and Southern Highlands branches. All Council members must be Members or Fellows of the Society.  The Executive Committee of Council, consisting of the President, the Vice-Presidents, the Honorary Secretaries and the Honorary Treasurer, deals with any matters referred to it by Council and with matters that ought not be postponed until a meeting of the Council.

From April 2021, following the election of the Council under the revised Rules (approved at the 9 December 2020 Ordinary General Meeting), the Council will comprise the President, the Vice-President, the immediate Past President (if available, and only for the first year after leaving the role of President), the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Librarian, the Webmaster, the chairperson (or nominee) of each of the Hunter and Southern Highlands branches, and eight elected Members or Fellows. All Council members must be Members or Fellows of the Society.  The Executive Committee, under the revised Rules, will comprise the President, the Vice-President, the immediate Past President (if available, for the first year after leaving the role of President), the Secretary, the Treasurer and one Council member appointed by resolution of the Council.

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Council and Office-Bearers 2020–21

The current Council and office-bearers of the Society are:

Patron Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales
President Emeritus Professor Ian Sloan AO FRSN
Vice-Presidents Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert AM FRSN (immediate past President)
Dr Susan Pond AM FRSN
Ms Judith Wheeldon AM FRSN
Hon. General Secretary Mr Bruce Ramage MRSN
Hon. Editorial Secretary Emeritus Professor Robert Marks FRSN
Hon. Treasurer Mr Richard Wilmott MRSN
Hon. Librarian Mr John Hardie FRSN 
Hon. Webmaster Emeritus Professor Lindsay Botten FRSN

Mr Ian Bryce MRSN
Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy AM FRSN
The Hon. Virginia Judge FRSN
Mr Stuart Midgley MRSN
Emeritus Professor Bruce Milthorpe FRSN
Ms Nyrie Palmer MRSN
Emeritus Professor Christina Slade FRSN
Adjunct Professor Robert Whittaker AM FRSN

Hunter Branch Representative
Southern Highlands Branch Representative
Professor George Willis FRSN

Mr Mike Jonas MRSN

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Council Committees

The President chairs meetings of the Council and general meetings of the Society.

The Council appoints other committees from time to time to attend to specific matters. Committees may comprise both Council members and other Society members.


The current committees, together with the names of their Chairs and Secretaries are shown below. The link associated with a Committee name accesses the Terms of Reference of that particular Committee. 

Committee  Chair  Secretary 
 Awards  Vacant  Prof. George Willis  
 Bicentennial   The President Mr Bruce Ramage
 Business Continuity  Dr Susan Pond Dr Donald Hector
 Community Engagement   Vacant Vacant
 Events Em. Prof. Christina Slade Dr Elizabeth Deane 
 Fellows & Members Assessment Em. Prof. Brynn Hibbert  Dr Erik Aslaksen
 Fundraising Em. Prof. Sloan  Ms Nyrie Palmer
 Library and Assets Mr John Hardie  Vacant
 Publishing Mr John Hardie  Vacant
 RSNSW & Four Academies Forum  Em. Prof. Ian Sloan Em. Prof. Robin King


A revised committee structure is envisaged for the 2021–22 Council. The intended committees are the:

  • Award Committee
  • Bicentennial Committee
  • Business Operations Committee
  • Community Engagement Committee
  • Events Committee
  • Executive Committee 
  • Fellows and Members assessment Committee
  • Fundraising Committee
  • Library and Assets Committee
  • Publishing Committee
  • RSNSW and Learned Academies Forum COmmittee 

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Act and Rules

The Act of Incorporation and the Rules, as approved at the 9 December 2020 OGM, are here: Act and Rules (PDF)

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Strategic Plan

The 2021-23 Strategic Plan of the Society, as approved by the Council on 4 February 2021, is now online.

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Annual Reports

Recent Annual Reports (in pdf format) are available as listed below:

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Social Media Links


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Distinguished Fellows


List of Presidents

Useful links

Support us

We are a registered charity and very much welcome your support. Donations in support of our Scholarship and Library programs are tax deductible in Australia.

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