Proceedings of the Royal Society for the month of May, 1878

Royal Society of Tasmania 1878 , 'Proceedings of the Royal Society for the month of May, 1878' , Papers & Proceedings and Report of the Royal Society of Tasmania , pp. 6-7 .

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The monthly evening meeting of the Society was held on Tuesday
May 14. His Excellency the Governor occupied the chair.
-A specimen of marble, cut and polished, was placed on the table for
inspection. In calling attention to this specimen, Mr. Stephens remarked
that though the term "marble" was sometimes restricted to altered or
metamorphic rocks, it also included all limestones used for ornamental
purposes, the black and grey limestones from the carboniferous rocks of
England and Ireland being extensively utilised. The specimen before the
meeting was from the so-called "Devonian" limestones of Maria Island,
and would bear comparison with many marbles of the same class which
have attained high favour. It had been furnished by Mr. Robert
Robinson, of Spring Bay, whose name was familiar to many Fellows
of the Society, and it was to be hoped that he would be successful in this
attempt to establish a new and permanent industry in Tasmania.
-The Secretary read a paper entitled "A few remarks on the distribution
and growth of Queensland plants," contributed by F. M. Bailey, Esq.,
of Brisbane, a Corresponding Member of the Society.
-His Lordship the Bishop of Tasmania read an important paper on
" Water supply in relation to disease."
-In his (Dr. Hall's) capacity as Health Officer, such support was
most valuable for when respected and intelligent gentlemen took up sanitary subjects,
it would have much more weight with Government, and local
authorities than anonymous letters in the newspapers. In the paper to
which the Bishop had alluded, read to the society by him (Dr. Hall)
fifteen years ago this month, he had predicted that those diseases most
influenced by impure water, would diminish by the recently improved
supply. He had stated that on an average of the six years, 1857-62, the
mortality from dysentery, diarrhoea, etc., had been 8 per cent, of the total
deaths. Last year, with its very heavy death list, the proportion was
rather less than half. Could other sanitary improvements be made to
effect a similar reduction in other diseases he would go to his grave satisfied
that his labours in the cause had not been fruitless.
-Referring to some remarks as to certain diseases being propagated by
germs carried about by the air, water, and other means the Secretary
observed that although the "germ" theory of disease was a good working
theory, it was well to recollect that its correctness had never yet been
actually proved. He, himself had long thought, from many instances
which had come under his observation, that disease of an infectious
character could occur de novo—that is without the action of any preexisting
germ. Within the last few months Dr. R. W. Richardson,
who was certainly second to none in the profession for learning, ability,
and power of original research, had contributed to a scientific periodical a
paper in which he attacked with much cogent reasoning "the germ
theory", and offered a carefully considered suggestion to the effect that
infectious diseases were due to a poison secreted by the individual—the
poison of the snake being adduced as an extreme example.
-His Excellency mentioned he had recently, when fishing caught two
parr, one in the Derwent, the other in the Nile. From the finger-like
markings of the former he thought it probable it was the young of the
true Salmon, whilst the more spotted markings of the latter might favour
the belief that it was the young of the Salmo trutta. In each case the
young fish, after its accidental capture, was immediately returned to its

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Royal Society of Tasmania
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers & Proceedings and Report of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

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