A Very Special Festive Season

Festive Season imageThe year 2020 will forever be remembered as the year of Australian bushfires and floods, COVID 19, lockdowns, “flattening the curve”, Chief Medical Officers and epidemiologists. The whole community has been challenged to find new ways of doing things, and to put up with inconveniences, big and small.

For the Royal Society of New South Wales this has been a year of exceptional challenges, with all face-to-face meetings cancelled since March, yet with a continuing obligation to provide high quality events for its Members and Fellows. I am immensely proud of the efforts of our Executive Officer, Webmaster and Zoom Master, and other members of Council and its committees who managed at very short notice to take all of our activities online, from the annual elections to the monthly meetings, and even to meetings of our branches.

If you go to our much-improved website and click on the YouTube icon, you will find there the videos of seventeen individual meetings held in 2020, together with the complete collection of videos from the recent Forum of the Royal Society and the Academies, “After COVID-19: Creating the Best of Times from the Worst of Times”. That splendid event took place at Government House in front of a small audience but was live streamed to a much wider audience, and is now available in edited form on the YouTube channel. Another video available on the YouTube channel is the first of our “[email protected]”, a joint event with Government House, with Robert Clancy using his own wonderful collection of early maps to talk about the maps of the early colony of New South Wales.

After a year like no other, but with interstate borders now open, lockdowns gone, and community transmissions at low levels, for most of us this will be a very special Festive Season, as we reunite with family and friends without a 1.5 metre separation. For those with family overseas, or suffering from loss, we offer sincere sympathy. On behalf of the Council of the Royal Society of NSW, I extend to the whole Royal Society family every best wish for the coming Festive Season, and for a much more comfortable and enjoyable New Year – a year that offers something special to look forward to, when in June we reach 200th anniversary, and begin our bicentennial celebrations.

Ian H. Sloan AO FRSN FAA
President, Royal Society of NSW

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