This report describes the early history of science organizations in Australia, leading up to the establishment of the Australian Academy of Science in 1954, and then outlines some of the activities of the Academy as described in The Australian Academy of Science. The first fifty years, which was published by the Academy in 2005.1
Settlement and federation
When the British settlement of Australia began in 1788, the different regions were settled as widely separated colonies, New South Wales being the first; the southern island, Van Diemen's Land (renamed Tasmania in 1853), was settled in 1804, then Western Australia in 1829, and South Australia in 1836. The part of New South Wales south of the River Murray and east of South Australia was proclaimed a separate colony, Victoria, with Melbourne as its capital, in 1850, and in 1859 the northern part of New South Wales became a separate colony, Queensland, with Brisbane as its capital.2
After some earlier discussion, late in 1889 the parliaments of the six Australian colonies together with New Zealand had agreed to elect delegates to a federal conference in Melbourne early in 1890. After much discussion, New Zealand withdrew from the conference and in 1900 a delegation representing the Australian colonies went to London, where Joseph Chamberlain, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, introduced into the House of Commons the Bill for an Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia, which was passed on 1 January 1901.3
Colonial Royal Societies
Science was first promoted in Van Diemen's Land, where Governor Sir John Franklin FRS organized in 1837 the establishment of a Society of Natural History, which in 1849 became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land. Royal Societies were subsequently established in Victoria (1859), New South Wales (1866), South Australia (1880), Queensland (1884) and, after Federation in 1901, in Western Australia (1914). These Royal Societies still operate, and each has regular monthly meetings and still publishes its Proceedings. Especially in the early days, they made considerable contributions to science, particularly geology, zoology and botany.
Forerunners of the Australian Academy of Science
As well as the book that is the basis of this article, a paper4 by Ann Moyal in 1980 provides some useful information about the forerunners of the Australian Academy of Science. In 1886 Sir Archibald Liversidge FRS was one of the founders of the first national science conferences, modelled on the British Association for the Advancement of Science, namely the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science (later the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, ANZAAS).5 Conferences were held annually in different capital cities in Australia and New Zealand, but ANZAAS held its last meeting in Adelaide in 1997, mainly because of the great expansion of specialist science societies that held annual conferences. In 1901, the year of Federation, Sir Archibald suggested that a ‘supreme body to speak for science’ would be a great stimulation for younger scientists. The idea was raised sporadically during the third and fourth decades of the nineteenth century, and in 1921 a national institution for science, the Australian National Research Council (ANRC) was established. However, it was not until the 1950s that the concept of a national academy of science was realized.
Australian National Research Council
The ANRC was established in 1921, with three principal objectives:
to represent Australia on the International Research Council, which had been established in 1919;
to promote generally, as far as possible in cooperation with existing institutes, the cause of scientific research in Australia;
to serve as an academy of science.
By 1930, however, members felt that while it had functioned satisfactorily as a research council, it had not been a success as a national academy. Several factors were involved: the difficulty of arranging meetings in a continent of such vast distances, especially in the midst of a major depression and in the absence of air transport, and the difficulty of coordinating existing state societies and their activities. In 1934 the ANRC suffered a cruel blow: the ANRC's treasurer died at a time when it was becoming clear to other officers that he had embezzled the Council's money, at least £14 000, most of which had come from Commonwealth grants. Reorganization was considered at a conference in 1935 and put into effect in 1937, when the ANRC was reconstituted as a subcommittee of ANZAAS, consisting of Fellows of ANZAAS resident in Australia.
The ANRC made many important contributions to Australian science in addition to representing Australia on the International Research Council and its successor, the International Council of Scientific Unions, and its constituent unions and committees. It had organized the Second Pan Pacific Science Congress, held in Sydney and Melbourne in 1923, which, among other things, had urged governments, universities and research institutions to improve work in anthropology in Australia, including teaching, the training of research workers, and research in Australia and Oceania. By 1925 a chair of anthropology was established at Sydney University and in 1926 the Rockefeller Foundation donated £55 000, for which the ANRC was trustee, for anthropological research in Australia and the Pacific islands. After the outbreak of World War II a further sum of £10 000 was made available by the Carnegie Corporation. Some 50 research expeditions were financed wholly by the Council, and many smaller grants were awarded for short expeditions; the ANRC also founded the journal Oceania, largely as a medium for the publication of such work.
Starting in 1938, the ANRC sponsored the Australian Journal of Science as a journal to publish news, articles and views on scientific topics of general interest. With the dissolution of the ANRC in 1955 (see below) the journal continued to be run by ANZAAS until 1970, when it changed its name to Search. When World War II broke out in 1939 the Chairman of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Eric Ashby (later Lord Ashby; FRS 1963), conferred with the Executive of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to discuss moves to ensure that scientists were able to support the war effort; as a result the Scientific Liaison Bureau was set up in December 1942 and had an important role in the application of science and technology to the war effort.
Dissolution of the ANRC and formation of the Australian Academy of Science
Despite the work just described, there was a strong feeling within the ANRC Council that it would be necessary to found a body that had more authority in the eyes of both the scientific community and the government. It was inevitable that, with the end of the war and the enlightened visions of postwar reconstruction, the organization of science should again come under close scrutiny. Several initiatives followed. In 1949 the CSIR, the premier research organization in Australia, was reorganized to create the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). However, more important from the point of view of the establishment of the Academy was the initiative of a senior Commonwealth public servant, H. C. Coombs, and Minister John Dedman in establishing a new kind of research university in Canberra, the Australian National University (ANU), by Act of Parliament in 1947. Initially it consisted of four research schools: two in the social sciences, one in medical research and one in research in physics. An Advisory Committee of three distinguished Australian expatriates and one New Zealander was set up in England to oversee its development. In 1950 Mark Laurence Elwin Oliphant,6 then Professor of Physics in Birmingham and one of the members of the Advisory Committee, returned to Australia as Director of the Research School of Physical Sciences. In cooperation with Dr David Martyn7 he set about establishing the Australian Academy of Science.
In July 1951 Oliphant organized a seminar, ‘Science in Australia’, at the ANU, as a contribution to the Jubilee of Federation. During this he and Martyn floated the idea that a committee of Fellows of the Royal Society resident in Australia should be acceptable as the founders of the Academy, because these men had been elected in Britain by Fellows of a Society that had no interest in the personal and interstate squabbles in Australia that had affected the ANRC. They therefore sent a circular letter to other Fellows of the Royal Society resident in Australia.8
After receiving support from all except one Fellow, who was disillusioned by the interstate quarrels, Oliphant and the Chairman of the CSIR, Sir David Rivett FRS, went to see Prime Minister Robert Menzies on 21 December 1951, who agreed wholeheartedly with the idea. He promised to obtain the Charter in time for the forthcoming visit of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh and to view sympathetically financial requirements of the proposed new body. The death of King George VI on 5 April 1952 postponed the royal visit, and the interregnum gave time for further negotiations with the ANRC, which eventually created a favourable attitude. On 29–30 July 1952 another seminar was held at the ANU, attended by local FFRS and 11 other senior scientists, after which the way was clear for the drafting of a Constitution and a Charter. By the end of 1953 all was ready,9 and the legal documents were sent off to London. Initially it was suggested that Prince Philip should present the Charter to the Petitioners when he came out to Australia with Queen Elizabeth II (formerly Princess Elizabeth), but on arrival here he changed his mind, pointing out that not since King Charles II had presented his Charter of the Royal Society of London had a reigning monarch presented the Charter of such a body, in person, and the occasion was important enough for The Queen herself to do so. Reproductions of the Petition and the Charter are provided in Appendix I of The first fifty years.
Fellows are elected by several methods: by ‘ordinary’ election, on the basis of scientific merit; by special election, because of their conspicuous service to science; or as Royal Fellows. Council may also elect as Corresponding Members persons of scientific merit who have special associations with Australian science but are not normally resident in Australia; no more than two of these may be elected in any year. The 23 Petitioners were elected as Founding Fellows at the first meeting of Council in 1954, and an additional 41 Fellows were elected that year by Selection Committees appropriate to special disciplines. From 1955 to 1970 five ordinary Fellows were elected each year; because of the growing scientific population, in 1971 this number was increased to nine, in 1993 to 12 and in 2000 to 16.
The foundation Council comprised Mark Oliphant as President, a Secretary (Physical Sciences), a Secretary (Biological Sciences) and a Treasurer; from 1969 a Foreign Secretary was added, from 1989 a Secretary (Science Policy) and from 2002 a Secretary (Education and Public Awareness). As well as these Officers, there are five ordinary members in both the physical and the biological sciences. Officers serve for four years; ordinary members for three years.
Initially, in 1954, there was only one secretarial officer, the Executive Secretary. A librarian was installed as soon as ‘the Dome’ and its library were opened in 1961, and a business and finance officer was added in 1962. School education was an early interest of the Academy and has continued to be so; therefore from time to time, beginning in 1966, directors in charge of school education projects have been appointed. In 1980 a publications manager was added to the list, followed in 1982 by a science policy officer, in 1983 by an officer in charge of international programmes and in 1984 by an officer in charge of National Committees. An awards officer was appointed in 1989, an elections officer in 1990, a development officer in 1991 and an officer in charge of buildings and grounds in 2000.
The offices and building
Initially the Academy was provided with office space by the ANU, but it was clear that it needed a building of its own. In 1955 Oliphant approached two men who had important business connections and had been elected as Special Fellows in 1954. Almost immediately he received a cheque for £25 000 from one of them, Essington Lewis, the founder of Broken Hill Pty Ltd. Council regarded this as sufficient to proceed with the construction of a building. By 1961, two years after completion of the building, the Treasurer had received £165 000, supplemented in the next year by a donation of £100 000.
At that time Canberra was under Commonwealth Government control, and a site was allocated near Lake Burley Griffin and next to what had been a two-storey government-owned boarding house (Beauchamp House). A competition by invitation resulted in the selection of Roy Grounds as architect; the Dome was completed in 1959 and was opened by the Governor-General. As well as a lecture theatre, offices and a kitchen and dining area, there was a much smaller upper floor, which was converted into library space for archives and a science library, again covered by a donation of £25 000. There was some office space in the Dome, but most of the secretariat had to be accommodated in hired offices until the Academy acquired and renovated Beauchamp House, next door to the Dome. The ground floor of the newly named Ian Potter House was ideal for accommodation for the secretariat and meetings of Council; the upper floor was rented out.
Activities of the Academy
The activities of the Academy are summarized in the chapter headings.10 I will select a few of these and expand on them below.
National Committees were taken over from the ANRC as the Australian link with the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) (renamed the International Council of Science in 1998). The number of National Committees expanded from 10 in 1954 to 36 in 1979; they are an important link of Fellows with scientists generally, both nationally and internationally.
Nuclear weapons testing by France in Polynesia
In May 1957, shortly after it was recognized that the testing of nuclear weapons had produced a worldwide fallout of radioactive products, the Commonwealth government set up a National Radiation Advisory Committee (NRAC).11 Between 1966 and 1972 France performed six series of nuclear weapons tests on the islands of Muruoa Atoll in the southern Pacific Ocean. These elicited worldwide protests, Australia and New Zealand being particularly concerned. In February 1973 Prime Minister Gough Whitlam wrote to the President of the Academy requesting the Academy's opinion on the actual or potential harm of the French tests. In one of its most controversial decisions, the Academy's Council responded by appointing another committee,12 which did not include any members of the NRAC. This committee considered that although the risk was small, it might not be zero. The Attorney-General (Senator Lionel Murphy) arranged for the French government to send four of its scientists to Australia to meet the Academy's committee; the meeting took place in the Academy Council room in April. After three days of discussion the two groups produced separate reports: the French suggested that the dangers for Australia were zero, whereas the Australians followed the advice of the NRAC.
History of Australian science
After receipt of a donation of £25 000 from Sir Adolph Basser in 1960, most of the upper floor of the Dome was converted to the Basser Library, devoted to materials documenting the history of science in Australia, including archival material of Fellows and several other senior Australian scientists. Stimulated by Notes and Records of the Royal Society, in 1966 the Council of the Academy initiated the publication, at irregular intervals, of Records of the Australian Academy of Science. In 1980 this was converted to the regular annual publication, in June and December, of Historical Records of Australian Science. This contains historical articles on Australian science, biographical memoirs of deceased Fellows, a book review section and a bibliography of the history of Australian science. It is recognized worldwide as the pre-eminent journal of the history of science in Australia.
With the introduction of the Internet (and World Wide Web) in 1990, the Academy developed its own website and two important ways of communicating science to the public, namely short essays on matters of general public interest, called ‘NOVA, science in the news’, and ‘Interviews with Australian scientists’, the latter of which is also provided with teacher's notes.13
Science education in schools
In the early 1960s it became obvious that the teaching of biology in secondary schools was becoming increasingly out of date. In 1965 the Council of the Academy decided to produce a textbook, entitled Biological science: the web of life, for secondary-school students in years 11 and 12. After much discussion it was decided that the Academy would publish the book (750 pages with many coloured illustrations), as well as student manuals and a teacher's guide. In the first year of publication (1966–67) 10 000 copies were sold, in all states and territories, increasing to 48 900 in the peak year of 1974–75, plus 103 900 copies of the student manuals. It was updated by a second edition in 1973 and a third edition in 1981. In the 20-year period 1966–86, about 1 million copies of The web of life were sold; it revolutionized the teaching of biology and exerted a widespread influence on science education generally.
With the explosion of molecular biology a new book was needed, and Biology, the common threads, in two volumes, was published in 1990–91. It was followed up by the publication by the Academy of senior secondary-school student textbooks in other subjects. Under the general title of ‘Mathematics at work’, six books were finally published in 1980–81, and in 1988 a completely new text, Modelling your world, was produced.14 Subsequently additional textbooks for secondary school students were published, covering chemistry, geology and environmental science.15
Primary-school teaching materials
In 1992 the Academy's Council decided to proceed with the development of primary-school science materials, and several meetings were held involving science teachers from most states, a procedure facilitated by the Academy's policy of making available an award for one science teacher from each state and territory to attend ‘Science at the Shine Dome’, which coincides with its Annual General Meeting. Using the USA's curriculum ‘Science for life and living’ as a model, Council initiated a programme for primary-school teaching, under the title ‘Primary investigations’, as an integrated whole-school programme for children from kindergarten to year 6, with applications to technology and the environment. An experiment-based approach used simple equipment, with children working in teams of two or three, the lessons with each of the four units within a year's work following a sequence epitomized by the words ‘Engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate’. In 1993 an extensive trialling process was conducted in 38 schools in five states, involving some 600 teachers and 12 000 students for the whole year. The response was enthusiastic, and many suggestions were made for revisions and improvements, most of which were incorporated into the final version. Funding was provided by the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training to train 95 trainers, selected in collaboration with the Australian Science Teachers Association. In 1995 these trainers provided in-service workshops in all schools adopting the programme. An evaluation by the Department of Education and Training in 2002 found that ‘Primary investigations’ had made a significant positive contribution to science education in Australian primary schools but that it needed to be revised periodically to meet the needs of contemporary science education.
From its earliest days the Academy has been concerned with various aspects of science policy in Australia. The emphasis changed as institutional arrangements for decision making about science evolved and the Australian economy moved away from a highly protected domestic market, with exports of minerals (mainly coal and iron ore) and primary produce (mainly wool and wheat). The 1980s and 1990s saw the emphasis shift: trade barriers were removed, manufacturing industries with their supporting science and technology were developed, and new export markets with added value, in addition to minerals and agricultural products, which still remain important, were sought. From 1960 onwards, presidents of the Academy wrote to the Prime Minister of the time, pressing for the establishment of an advisory council on scientific policy. Eventually, in 1965, the Australian Research Grants Committee (ARGC) was established, with a Fellow of the Academy as chairman and an initial budget of AU$4 million, to cover the natural sciences except biomedical science, which was already covered by the NHMRC. In various forms these two committees still operate as the principal sources of Commonwealth government funding of scientific research, although with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2000, the proceeds of which were allocated to the State governments, various states, notably Victoria and Queensland, have used these to provide a source of funding for science.
In 1989 the Labor government established the post of Chief Scientist, located within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The first occupant of the position, distinguished environmental scientist and long-time Fellow of the Academy, Professor Ralph Slatyer FRS, created the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) scheme, a model that encompassed universities working collaboratively with industry and government research agencies. The first CRCs were set up in 1991, with initial funding for seven years and the possibility of continuing funding; they have been a great success and currently (2007) there are 56 CRCs, in a wide range of fields of science. Since 1996 the Academy has been able to influence science policy because the Chief Scientist (usually a Fellow) and the President of the Academy are both members of the Prime Minister's Science and Engineering Council (PMSEC, in 1996 renamed the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC)).
From the 1990s onwards, especially in the past 15 years, governments and the Academy have become increasingly concerned with the importance of science and technology to society, driven by demands from business and the community and by the realization that the increasingly serious environmental problems, including climate change, can only be understood and possibly controlled by the application of science and technology.
The Academy's first public exercise in the application of science to an applied problem, namely soil conservation, was prompted by the Sydney geologist William Browne FAA. A committee,16 chaired by the botanist John Turner FAA and including two members who had been involved in alpine ecology since 1940, was established in 1956 to investigate the condition of the high country of the Australian Alps, some 5000 square kilometres in New South Wales and Victoria. Although the New South Wales component had been established as the Kosiusko State Park in 1944, it continued to be used for summer grazing. Their report recommended that in Victoria the high catchments should be managed by the Soil Conservation Authority and in New South Wales by a reconstituted Kosciusko State Park Trust, and that grazing and burning off should be discontinued. Federal and State governments agreed with these recommendations. A more difficult problem was to persuade the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority17 not to proceed with its plan to build the Kosciusko Dam, which would destroy the only area in Australia with extensive evidence of Pleistocene glaciation. A new Academy committee18 recommended that this area should be preserved, and although both the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Authority and the Federal Government objected, the Kosciusko Dam was never built.
Another initiative of importance was the decision, over a period of several years starting in 1984, by me and my wife Bobbie, to build up a fund in the Australian Academy of Science to establish a series of Fenner Conferences on the Environment on issues related to conservation of the natural environment in Australia. The first conference was held in 1988, and one or two conferences have been held every year since then. Many of these conferences, which brought together persons with scientific, administrative and policy expertise, from industry, academia, government and non-governmental organizations, have had direct relevance to problems currently under discussion within the government.
The Academy inherited one award from the ANRC, the Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal, awarded biennially to the author of papers in mathematics and physics on research conducted in Australia during the five years preceding each award (it is now classified as a senior award). All other awards are classed as either ‘senior’, usually awarded to Fellows, or ‘early-career’, awarded to non-Fellows under the age of 40 years. They are usually named after a person and funded either from general funds or from donations for eminence in particular scientific activities.
The first and most prestigious award was the Matthew Flinders Medal (to commemorate the contributions of Flinders to the maritime exploration of Australia). It was accompanied by a Lecture, delivered at the Annual General Meeting of the Academy. Initiated in 1957, awards alternated between the physical and biological sciences until the Macfarlane Burnet Medal and Lecture, of equal status, was introduced in 1971; since then these two awards have been made in alternate years. The other senior awards are the Mawson Medal and Lecture, initiated in 1982, the Jaeger Medal, given triennially since 1989, and the Haddon Forrester King Medal, first awarded in 1993; all are in recognition of accomplishments in geology and Earth sciences. The Hannan Medal for mathematical sciences, initiated in 1995, is awarded every two years, and the David Craig medal for chemistry, awarded annually, was initiated in 2000.
The first early-career award was the Pawsey Medal for research in physics (1965), followed by the Gottschalk Medal (1976), initially for research in the medical or biological sciences but since 2000 for biomedical research. These were followed by the Frederick White Prize (1981), awarded every two years for research in the physical, terrestrial and planetary sciences, and the R. J. W. Le Fèvre Memorial Prize, for research in chemistry. The other three are the Moran Medal, for research in statistics, the Fenner Medal, for research in biology, excluding biomedical research, and the Dorothy Hill Award, for research in Earth sciences by a woman.
- Received August 31, 2007.
- Accepted September 3, 2007.
- © 2008 The Royal Society
This is the third version of a history of the Academy, edited by Frank Fenner, and by far the best, largely because of the excellent work of Maureen Swanage, then Manager of Publications. It contains 18 chapters in 305 pages of text and 18 appendices in 207 pages, with subject and name indexes comprising 25 pages. The first version, with the same title, was The Australian Academy of Science. The first twenty-five years, edited by Frank Fenner and A. L. G. Rees (a chemist) and published in 1980. Including the index it comprised 286 pages, all smaller than those of The first fifty years. Rees died in August 1989. By 1995 it was almost out of print, and rather than reprint it the Executive Secretary, Peter Vallee, suggested that I should update it as The Australian Academy of Science. The first forty years. This was produced in the same way as The first twenty-five years and consisted of 309 pages of text, 170 pages of appendices and 25 pages of index.
A large part of volume V of Manning Clark's history of Australia is devoted to the discussions of the colonies on Federation; Western Australia was very reluctant to give up its independence (
David Martyn was a Scot who had come to Australia in 1929. From 1949 to 1956 he worked at Mt Stromlo Observatory in Canberra, as Chief Scientist with the Radio Research Board. He was elected FRS in 1950, and having been in Australia for a long period was aware of the difficulties of establishing a national outlook for science in Australia.
The first paragraph of the circular letter read: ‘There has been much discussion of the desirability of forming a national body, representative of science as a whole, which would … elect Fellows of the highest quality, foster relations with scientific bodies in other countries and encourage the pursuit of science. … It is difficult for the ANRC to receive the prestige and support given to bodies like the Royal Society … but there is a general appreciation of the need for a national scientific society in Australia which would be capable by its constitution and membership of achieving national and international prestige and support.’
The first draft of the Constitution was prepared by Melbourne members, the draft election procedures by those from Sydney and the Petition by Martyn in collaboration with a Sydney solicitor, Mr Norman Cowper, who had experience in obtaining Royal Charters and whose firm had an office in London.
Apart from the topics discussed in the text, the chapters are as follows: 8, ‘National scientific activities: physical sciences’; 9, ‘National scientific activities: biological sciences’; 11, ‘History of Australian science’; 12, ‘International relations’; 13, ‘Australian contributions to international scientific programs’; 14, ‘Relations with other Australian Academies [Humanities, Social Sciences and Technological Sciences and Engineering]’; 15, ‘Relations with industry’; 16, ‘Disseminating scientific knowledge’; 17, ‘Science education in schools’; and 18, ‘Scientific conferences’.
The first chairman of the NRAC was Sir Macfarlane Burnet (1957–60); subsequent chairmen were Sir Sydney Sunderland (1960–64) and Colin Courtice (1965–73). All were Fellows of the Academy and there were several other Fellows on the Committee. Members in 1973 were F. C. Courtice FAA (Chairman), C. Adams, J. P. Baxter FAA, A. M. Clark, E. Ford, L. H. Martin FAA, J. M. Rendel FAA, D. J. Stevens, E. W. Titterton FAA, R. J. Walsh FAA and G. M. Watson.
This committee comprised R. N. Robertson PresAA (Chairman), F. M. Burnet FAA, S. T. Butler FAA, D. Caro, F. W. E. Gibson FAA, D. Metcalf FAA, C. B. H. Priestley FAA and M. J. D. White FAA.
The Academy website is <www.science.org.au>. NOVA, Science in the news <www.science.org.au/nova>, was launched in May 1997 and currently (June 2007) contains 102 entries, on science, health, the environment, mathematics and technology. Each contains a key text in non-technical language, a glossary, student activities, useful websites and suggested further reading. There are currently 88 interviews with Australian scientists <www.science.org.au/scientists>, each of which is provided with teachers notes.
The individual titles indicate the scope of the ‘Mathematics at work’ series: Making the best of things, Taking your chances, People count, Shape, size and place, Understanding change, and Maths and your money.
Elements of chemistry: earth, air, fire and water, combined text and student manual, volumes 1 and 2 (1983 and 1984); teacher’s guide, volumes 1 and 2 (1983 and 1984). Geological science: perspectives of the Earth, text, student manual and teacher’s guide (1983); Environmental science, text and teacher’s guide (1994 and 1995).
J. S. Turner FAA (Chairman), A. B. Costin, R. L. Crocker and J. W. Evans.
The Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme is a massive water diversion, storage and hydroelectric undertaking that interlocks seven power stations and 16 major dams through 145 km of trans-mountain tunnels and 80 km of aqueducts, reversing the flow of the Snowy River from its original easterly direction into the sea. It took 25 years to build, from 1949 to 1974, at a cost of AU$6 billion (at 2000 values), and provided employment for more than 100 000 people from more than 30 countries in its construction.
J. S. Turner FAA (Convener), J. C. Eccles (PresAA), F. Fenner FAA (Secretary, Biological Sciences), R. L. Crocker and M. F. Day FAA.