Latest edition of Historical Records of Australian Science out now

February 25, 2021
Map showing the approximate route taken by the Hann expedition, 26 June to 12 November 1872. Map prepared by Claire Burton, Cairns Regional Council and published in Historical Records of Australian Science.

An article in the latest edition of the Academy’s journal, Historical Records of Australian Science, caught the attention of media due to its unusual author–subject relationship.

The authors of A re-examination of William Hann’s Northern Expedition of 1872 to Cape York Peninsula, Queensland are both related to the original expeditioners, with Peter Illingworth Taylor descended from the geologist, Norman Taylor, and Nicole Huxley from the Indigenous translator, Jerry. Together these authors model a new kind of co-production in settler and Indigenous Australian science history and their article attracted media interest from the time of its publication ‘online early’ at the end of November 2020.

Of the seven historical articles in the latest issue of the journal, three are part of a collection on the history of archaeology in Australia and the Pacific, coordinated by Dr Hilary Howes. They will be included, together with some from the previous issue, and one yet to come, in a ‘virtual issue’ that will be published in association with a significant event in this field of research.

The other historical articles in this issue cover a range of personal, technological and organisational histories. The first of these is about some developments of inorganic chemistry in Australia in the middle of the 20th century, written by an author with substantial knowledge of the field. The second is about the international astronomy conference held in Sydney in 2003 and follows the author’s account of a similar conference held in 1973 that was published in the last issue. The final one is an account of the interactions of CSIR (forerunner of CSIRO) with Australian industry, being the third from the study of the organisation’s history by a group at Swinburne University.

The bibliography of history of Australian science covers the 12 months to September 2020 and containing 295 entries, while the book review section has 10 incisive and informative reviews. These two sections add substantially to the value that readers of history of Australian science can find in the journal.

The publication of biographical memoirs of deceased Fellows of the academy is a key activity of the journal, but preparation of a memoir is a major task for writers and this issue is the first for a very long time that does not include a biographical memoir. There is expected to be memoirs in the next issue, in July.

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