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Volume 14, 1881
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The President delivered an address on “Recent Advances in Science.”


In commencing another session it appears to be appropriate that I should say a few words to you regarding subjects that affect us. In this remote part of the world, though we have not the privileges of such men as pursue science in old countries in their great opportunities for elaboration, differentiation, and generalization, yet we have an almost virgin field for exploration and research. Peculiarly to this district belong the unpenetrated great western snowy mountains, whose southern peaks are in sight of us on clear days; and the time will yet come, when this, as the nearest point of departure, will be made a base of operations for unravelling the mysteries of the great antarctic continent—as yet only once sighted by one of Britain's most celebrated navigators. It is not unlikely that the coast seen by Sir James Ross in 1848 will be made a station for the observation of the coming transit of Venus which will take place next year.

Our first session of last year we cannot put down as a barren one, several papers of interest having been read before the Institute, and the good attendance at our meetings was a proof that the subjects discussed were not without appreciation. The conversazione which terminated the session was eminently successful both in regard to attendance and the number of objects exhibited.

The President then gave an interesting review of the more interesting additions to scientific literature which had been recently made, touching on the discovery of the photophone, the voyage of the “Challenger,” the latest work with the spectroscope, and the exploration of New Guinea by D'Albertis, as discussed by Wallace. He concluded by stating that many other subjects take up the attention of men of science at this present time—subjects affecting the health, physically as well as morally, of mankind. If probers and enquirers of these efforts be not at all times successful, or if their conclusions be not always agreeable to sections of society, yet the advantage of free scope is one much to be appreciated, and in our peculiar locality we need fear no influences when our object is honourable and humane.

The President then mentioned many other objects which are now engaging scientific attention, many of which, he said, have peculiar interest here, and which are open to the members to study and cultivate.


“On a Source of Water Supply for Invercargill,” by J. R. Cuthbertson. (Transactions, p. 121).