Adopted by Council 12th September 1984 – reviewed by Pres Sept 2009

Major- General George William Symes CB, MC settled in South Australia in 1949 after a distinguished career in the British Army. He took an active part in the life of the state, and was Private Secretary to the Governor from 1956 to 1964. His interest in historical geography led him to join the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia. South Australian Branch* soon after his Historical Division he made a special study of the Northern Territory and its explorers. Papers by him include “A Brief Account of the Military Life and Times of George Gawler, “Exploration and Development of the North of South Australia 1850-69, and the Early Life of John Ross”, “John Ross – a Refutation and a Chronology”. “John Ross and the Macumba, exploring in the MacDonnell Ranges”, and “Reflections on the Life of Stuart**. In 1962 he received a John Lewis Award for his research into the history of the Northern Territory.

In 1980 Major-General Symes was chosen to deliver the Society’s annual Brock Memorial Lecture. His subject, on which he had worked for many years, was “Charles Todd – Genesis of the Overland Telegraph”. A week before the lecture he was taken ill, and his paper was delivered by the Vice-President, Mr. Brian Ward. He died a few days later at the age of 84.

Major-General Symes bequeathed the sum of $5,000 to the Society upon trust to “invest the same and apply the interest there from to provide from time to time an award for historical research into the history of South Australia and the Northern Territory insofar as it affects the history of South Australia” and expressed the hope that “if the said Royal Geographical Society of Australasia South Australian Branch shall become defunct the said fund shall be transferred to the University of Adelaide or some other suitable body for the same purpose”.

The Society accepts the sum of $5,000 on trust and undertakes to hold the fund, which shall be called the G.W. Symes Bequest Fund, and the investments for the time being representing the same as well as the income thereof and there from in accordance with the following conditions:

  1. To invest the said fund and any unexpected income there from and to realize and convert and reinvest the same or any part thereof from time to time or at any time as to the Council of the Society may seem proper or desirable in all or any of the deposits, investments or securities authorised by the laws of the Commonwealth of Australia or any of the States of Australia for trustee investments.
  2. To expand any portion of the funds (whether corpus or income) or the investments representing the same as to the Council may seem proper or necessary in procuring any thing of whatsoever nature that may be necessary or convenient for use in providing the award or otherwise for administering the trust.
  3. To spend the Income of and from the fund or investments or to utilize the accumulations of Income or any part thereof to maintain the value of the bequest and in the expenses of administration and in procuring and or awarding:
    (a) The G W. Symes Award Certificate and cash prize to be awarded from time to time. at the discretion of Council, for research into the history of South Australia and the Northern Territory insofar as it affects the history of South Australia.
    (b) Trophies or objects of any other nature or design as may from time to time seem desirable to Council to be awarded for research into the history of South Australia and the Northern Territory insofar as it affects the history of South Australia provided that same shall be designated the –“G.W. Symes Award”.
    (c) Monetary assistance to enable a researcher to effect the research necessary and to prepare a research paper on a topic related to the history of South Australia and the Northern Territory insofar as it affects the history of South Australia.
  4. The award of any such certificates, cash prizes, assistance, trophies or objects shall be made at such times and upon such conditions and by such means of selection or adjudication as the Society may from time to time or at any time prescribe by by-law or regulation under and pursuant to outs rules, and so far as practicable in accordance with the expressed wishes1 of the Donor.
  5. All awards-shall be at the discretion of Council and upon the advice of the G.W. Symes Bequest Committee.
  6. The G.W. Symes Bequest Committee shall be administered by the Funds and Awards Committee2 as established by the Council of the Society 3 .comprise three members of Council nominated by the Council each as soon as practicable after the Annual General Meeting, and shall include at least one member of the Executive. The Committee shall advise and recommend to Council on all aspects of the use of the G.W. Symes Bequest Fund, in accordance with these rules.The Awards and Research Committee established by the Council may incorporate the G.W. Symes Bequest Committee within its members.
  7. Council may in its absolute discretion reserves the right to have any research paper which is supported by funds from the G.W.Symes Bequest or which receives a G.W. Symes Award presented to the Society at one of its meetings whether by the recipient or by some other person and/or considered for publication In the Society’s Journal or in some other publication of the Society without payment for such presentation or publication in whole or in part may be met by the G.W. Symes Bequest Fund.
  8. A person accepting a G.W. Symes Award does so on the terms and conditions set out in these Rules (By-Laws).