Canterbury Branch of The Royal Society of New Zealand
Annual Report for the Year Ended October 31, 1956
Membership. At the end of the financial year the ordinary membership of the Society was 286, the same as last year. Eighteen new members have been elected, one member has been transferred to us from another Branch, and three associates have been transferred to us from another Branch, and three associates have been transferred to full membership Eight members have resigned, five have been transferred to other Branches, two have died, and the names of seven members have been removed from the register by order of the Council.
Associate membership has declined by four from 18 last year to 14 this year. One associate has been elected, one has resigned, and three have been transferred to full membership of the Society. The name of one associate has been removed from the register by order of the Council.
The retired list of membership has increased by one from six last year to seven this year. One former member has been elected to the retired list.
At the end of the financial year the resignation of one member will become effective, and one member will be transferred to the retired list On November 1, the commencement of the new year, the Society will have 284 ordinary members, 14 associates, and eight members on the retired list.
Obituary. The Society records with deep regret the death of two members Sir Hugh Acland, a well known Christchurch surgeon, and a very old member of the Society, died during the early part of the year Sir R. Heaton Rhodes, of “Otahuna”, Tai Tapu, another very old member of the Society, died during the middle of the year.
Council. Up to the end of the financial year ten meetings of the Council had been held Records of attendance are as follows (ex-officio members marked*): *Allan 2, Blair 7, B. W. Collins 7, C. W. Collins 8, Duff 3, Ellyett 7, Clark 7, Fenwick 6, Pilgrim 6, *Garlick 10, Labatt 7, Percival 8, *McLellan 7, Forster 5, Russell 9, Mangin 5.
Dr. R. R. Forster left for the United States in May, taking up a Travelling Fulbright Scholarship which will enable him to do research at several American Museums. In the same month Mr. E. R. Mangin was appointed honorary assistant secretary. Mr. C. R. Russell, who has been honorary secretary since August, 1946, tendered his resignation to the Council, which was accepted in October. Mr. E. R. Mangin was appointed honorary secretary in his place.
In addition to routine business a considerable number of matters have been referred to the Council by the parent body. The general finances of the Royal Society of New Zealand are causing the Standing Committee some concern, and a questionnaire was recently sent to this Society asking for information upon our own finances and the general activities of the Branch. It would appear that the functions of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and the publications of the Transactions are mainly financed from Government giants. The question of national collections and their custody is another important matter that has been referred to this Society by the Standing Committee.
The Council has considered with some concern the increasing number of members and associates who either leave their place of residence without advising us of their new address or are reported by the honorary treasurer as unfinancial. This year seven members and one associate had their names removed from the register for one of these causes.
Early in the year the chairman of the Scientific Photography Section recommended to the Council that owing to a seriously declining attendance at Section meetings, and the loss of members, the Section should be abandoned A referendum of Section members was-heavily in favour of the Section being disbanded, and this was agreed to by the Council.
Field Club Section activities have been curtailed by lack of interest. This it is hoped will be remedied when more permanent quarters can be obtained.
The Mathematics and Physical Sciences Section is buoyant, their meetings being popular and well attended.
The Council extends its congratulations to Dr. Roger S. Duff on the award of the Hectoi Medal of the Royal Society of New Zealand—the premier scientific award in this country— “for his contributions to the science of anthropology, and in particular for his researches into the material culture of the moa hunters”. Dr. Duff is the first Canterbury recipient of this award since 1940, and only the third since 1922. The medal is awarded annually to workers in various branches of science in rotation, being given for anthropology and ethnology every sixth year. The medal and prize were presented to Dr. Duff by Dr. R. S. Allan, a member of the Council and a Vice-president of the Royal Society of New Zealand, at a special meeting of the branch on September 20.
Late in the year Mr. W. W. Sawyer tendered his resignation from the Society, owing to his impending departure to take up a position in the United States. Mr. Sawyer was one of the founders of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Section and its first chairman. He gave valuable service on the Council for three years.
Mr. C. R. Russell, an Appreciation. It seems appropriate to include in this Annual Report a tribute to the work of the Society's former secretary, Mr. C. R. Russell, who resigned office in October this year. Mr. Russell was elected to this office in August, 1946, on the resignation of Mr. G. Guy, and so at the time of his resignation had completed more than 10 years of continuous secretaryship. This term is by far the longest of any of the Society's secretaries, the previous record being held by the first secretary. Mr. E. C. J. Stevens (1862–1868), next comes the late Professor R. Speight (1894–1896 and 1908–1911).
During Mr. Russell's term of office the Society's membership increased from about 220 to more than 300, and the work of the secretary was increased not only as a result of this gain, but also because of the incieasing amount of business referred to the Branch by the parent body in Wellington Mr. Russell overhauled the secretarial procedure of the Branch, instituted more efficient record systems, and was concerned in such matters as the revision of the constitution and the formulation of a set of rules. In the day to day business of the Society he was most conscientious and tireless, and when decisions had to be made by the Council his opinion was always valuable Routine business was far from being the whole of his work, however, as Mr. Russell frequently introduced original ideas at the Council table and at general meetings.
That a busy man, whose primary interests and activities lay outside the strict confines of science (in the fields of engineering and commerce), should be able to find time for the Society's affairs in the capacity of secretary for so long a period is remarkable It is more remarkable that during this time also he has continued his scientific studies of the rotatoria and made many significant contributions to science in this group of microscopic animals, on which he is recognized as the New Zealand authority He also played a not unimportant part in the Scientific Photography Section.
Though it will no doubt be a rehef to Mr. Russell to lay down the burden of the secretaryship, it is with pleasure that we are able to state he will continue to serve the Society as an ordinary member of the Council during the coming year.
General Meetings The following was the year's programme: December 7, 1955: Annual General Meeting; “A Visit to Australia and the Snowy River Project”, Mr. B. W. Collins. March 7, 1956: “The Influence of Forests on the Evolution of Terrestrial Animals” (Presidential.
Address), Dr. R. R. Forster. April 12 (in conjunction with Canterbury University College): “Fifty Years Hence”, Sir Charles Darwin. May 2: “The Functions of a Botany Division”, Mr. C. M. Smith. June 6: “New Answers to Some Old Problems in Astronomy”, Mr. K. W. Roth. August 1: “Problems of the Use of Antibiotics in Medicine”, Dr. G. C. T. Burns. September 5: Chalklin Memorial Lecture, “Magnetism”, Professor A. G. McLellan. October 3: “Recent Trends and Developments in the Sheep Industry”, Professor I. E. Coop. November 7 (public meeting): “A Symposium on Water Pollution”, Dr. H. T. Knights, Mr. D. Hogan, Mr. A. Hirsch.
At an Extra General Meeting on September 20, Professor R. S. Allan, Vice-president of the Royal Society of New Zealand, acting on behalf of the President, Professor Briggs, presented Dr. R. S. Duff with the Hector Medal and Prize for 1956.
At the conclusion of the presentation Dr. Duff described his visit to the Chinese Republic, illustrating his remarks with colour slides.
At an ordinary meeting of the Society on July 6, the following papers were read: “Pleistocene History of the Waimakiriri Valley”, Dr. M. Gage (read by title); “The Trans-Tasman Dispersal of the White Fronted Tern Sterna striata”, Mr. W. C. Clark; “The Distribution and Growth of Fresh Water Eels”, Mr. A. M. R. Burnet; “The Origin of the Canterbury Plains: Some Alternative Hypotheses”, Mr. B. W. Collins.
The following paper was read by title on August 1, “Contributions to a Knowledge of the Adventitive Flora of New Zealand”, No. 5, Mr. A. J. Healy.
Honorary Treasurer's Report. The financial position at the end of this year is satisfactory. The Council decided to increase the C. F. Chalklin Fund by £20, the Research Fund by £10, and the Publication Fund by £10 out of the year's income Also the Administration Reserve is to be increased by £30. From this reserve, a typewriter for the use of the secretary was purchased during the year: £5 towards the cost was kindly donated by Mr. C. R. Russell. The Farr Memorial Fund investment was converted from 3% Government Stock to 4⅝% Government Stock in March, 1956.
Report of the Hon. Librarian. During 1956 continued use of the combined libraries of the Society and of Canterbury University College has been made by a proportion of our members. It is now almost certain that 1957 will be the last year during which the Library will have to operate under the appalling handicap of totally inadequate space for books, for readers, and for staff work. The scheme to take over the School of Art building nearby, and to link it to the present Library by a new circulation and catalogue hall and main entrance, has been finally approved. The provision of new premises for the School of Art on the College's future site at Riccarton is well advanced, and working drawings are now being prepared for the conversion scheme on the present site. The College Library is soon to have its own microfilm camera unit which will extend the usefulness of present interloan facilities and also be of benefit to members not living in Christchurch Binding has been done fairly steadily during the year. Among the donations received there have been periodicals presented regularly by Mr. D. B. Mulligan, Mr. C. R. Russell and Mr. C. E. Fenwick.
Report of Representative on the Canterbury University College Library Committee. Our representative, Mr. G. E. Roth, is at present overseas, and Dr. R. M. Allison is deputising.
Report of Representative on the Riccarton Bush Board of Trustees. Professor L. W. McCaskill, who has been our representative on the Board for many years, resigned during the year, and Professor W. R. Philipson has been appointed in his place.
Report of the Representative on the Canterbury Museum Trust Board. The most important of the developments of the Museum is the building extension which has been growing during the year. Considerable changes are taking place in the original structure, so that a fine, extensive, and convenient addition to the architecture of the city and province is assured. A grant of £30,000 from the Government has supplemented in a most satisfactory manner the contributions by the province, made during and after the Centenniel celebrations, towards the Museum extensions.
Field Club Section The past year has not been as successful as previous years. Only one trip was held, due to less support from a smaller membership on the one hand, and the higher cost of transport on the other. More support from members would be appreciated by the Committee.
The winter programme was reasonably well attended, six evenings being held Titles were: May, “Stewart Island”. A symposium by D. E. Crockett and I. Mannening. June: “Natural History Slides”, Dr. R. R. Forster. July: “Uranium Prospecting”, W. F. Heinz August, “Karamea to Collingwood”, W. Dukes. September: “Trip to China”, Dr. R. Duff (in conjunction with the Canterbury Branch) October: Films (after Annual General Meeting).
With the exception of the September meeting, which was held in Room 1 of the Geography Block, the meetings were held in Room 23 of the Music Department. For the use of this room we are indebted to the late Mr. J. Logic, Registrar of the College.
The Museum Fund, which was carried on from last year, received little support, and will be continued next year.
During the year tentative arrangements were made to exchange notices with the W.E.A. Field Club. It was hoped that more support for both clubs would thus be obtained. We hope to continue this move in an attempt to increase our membership also.
The Club microscope saw more use during the year This is encouraging, and we trust that even wider use will be made of it in the future.
Funds are fairly low, due mainly to the large number of subscriptions in arrears. A grant was obtained from the Canterbury Branch of the Royal Society covering the costs of cyclostyled circulars.
Funds are: Cash in hand, £7 5s 4d; Museum Fund, £2.
The Section at present consists of 32 Section members and 28 Royal Society members.
Mathematics and Physics Section. The Section has now completed the third year of its existence, and it is pleasing to see continued growth, both of new members and of attendance at the meetings.
The following meetings were held during the year:–March 22: “Some Aspects of Biology of Interest to the Physicist”, Mr. M. C. Probine (Attendance 20.) April 13: “Atomic Number”, Sir Charles Darwin. (Attendance 170) April 26: “Oil Drilling in Borneo”, Professor H. J. Hopkins. (Attendance 34) June 7: “X-ray Research and the Solid State”, Dr. F. J. Llewellyn. (Attendance 55.) July 19: “Recent Advances in Diagnostic Radiology”, Dr. B. M. de Lambert, and “Non-destructive Methods of Testing Materials”, Mr. J. W. Lindsay (Attendance 23.) September 27: “Some Problems of Space Travel”, Professor D. F. Lawden. (Attendance 75.) The average attendance at the lectures was thus 63 members and visitors.
In addition, two visits were made: First, to the factory of the Associated British Cables Ltd., which was attended by 32 members on a Saturday morning, and secondly, to the new buildings of the Dominion X-ray and Radium Laboratory, when 26 attended a 5 to 7 p.m. demonstration.
The Planetarium Sub-Committee of the Section prepared a report during the year giving complete details and costs of a Planetarium installation. This was forwarded to the Canterbury Museum Trust Board and a reply is being awaited.
Officers elected for the year 1957 are: Chairman, Professor D. F. Lawden; Secretary, Dr. P. Schroeder; Committee, Dr. C. Ellyett, Mr. A. C. MacIntyre.
Report of Scientific Photographic Section A general lack of interest on the part of members resulting in poor attendances at meetings of both the section and the committee made it necessary to disband the Scientific Photographic Section.