Rare Book Discussion Meetings

The meetings will normally be held on every 4th Thursday in the month, in the Society's rooms. For a while the Society will offer two sessions on the same subject on each occassion. These will be held at 1030 and 1300. Bookings for either session will be through the link below.  At the Eventbrite site, there will be the choice of session times.

The program for 2017 is below.   This event is free for members of the RGSSA. Non-members are welcome to attend and tickets are available for $10 per person. The RGSSA welcomes new members who wish to make a contribution to the success of the society.  There is a limit of 24 people at each meeting. To ensure a place please book through the following link :-
Eventbrite - RGSSA Rare Book Discussion Group
23rd February Mathew Flinders and Sir Joseph Banks: The Library at Soho Square

Matthew Flinders’ principal task on his return from detention on Mauritius in 1810 was to write his Voyage to Terra Australis.  His chief source of background information in London was Sir Joseph Banks’ Library, where he was a regular visitor. Robert Brown, who had been the naturalist on Flinders’ Investigator expedition, was now Banks’ librarian. The association between the three men endured until Flinder's death in 1814
23rd March Shipwrecks, Lighthouses and Lifeboats in Australian Waters.

Margaret Brock
South Australian
The Admella, a passenger steamship on her way from Adelaide to Melbourne and Launceston, was wrecked on the reef off Carpenter Rocks on 6 August 1859. Eighty nine of the 113 on board died. The lighthouse on Cape Northumberland was without a telegraph so the keeper had to ride to Mount Gambier to get help. Two small boats, one being a lifeboat of the Admella which had been washed ashore, first reached the wreck a full week after the disaster. This session will present more general material from the RGSSA collections on shipwrecks, their prevention and rescue.
27th April The contribution of Germans to 19th Century Australia.

Germany has never been a major player in the age of Colonialism and Imperialism. Yet there were German mariners, explorers, discoverers and researchers almost everywhere in the world. Leichardt is certainly the best known in Australia but there were several more albeit less prominent Germans in British service in Australia working as Naturalists, Astronomers, Geologists or Missionaries from the days of Captain Cook up to the 20th century. Find out what brought Johann Forster, Friedrich Gerstaecker, Christian C Ruemker and others to these shores and how they have contributed to the development of Australia.
25th May The Gills at Glen Osmond The name Gill had a profound effect on the settlement and development of South Australia from the late 1830s up until the present time (the RGSSA and the independent Public Service are Gill’s legacies.) Thomas Gill (1849-1923) was Treasurer of the Society from its inception in 1885 until his death, and his extensive library was sold to the Society for 300 pounds. Glen Osmond was settled early as the SE gateway, and at this place was recorded and to some extent ‘catalogued’ the information of the formation of the State of South Australia through the RGS. Discover the treasurers from this very interesting information set.
22nd June Early Settlement in Aotearoa (New Zealand)   We will hear about the early history in New Zealand leading up to the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February, 1840 and significant people including Tasman, Cook, Light, Wakefield and Grey who have influenced settlement in both South Australia and New Zealand. The RGSSA has a significant collection of material relating to our close neighbours. 
27th July The "birth" of the City of Adelaide.

This session looks at books and maps in the RGS collection covering the concept for a city in the new colony of South Australia, and Colonel Light's planning and the problems of our geography for the location of Adelaide. The politics of the street names will also be discussed.
24th August Ethiopa, the search for Prester John and exotic emperors.

Maps from the 16th to 18th centuries suggest that to Europeans of those times Ethioipa was more of a concept than an actual country. A few adventurers who penetrated its formidable highlands were not permitted to leave; the earliest first-hand reports came from the Portugese embassy of 1520, relating to its extraordinary quest for the fabled Prester John.  Efforts by the Portugese Jesuits to convert the Ethiopians to Catholicism ignored the fact that they had been Christians since 341 AD.

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