The Royal Society of New South Wales Medal

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About the Medal

The Society's Medal is awarded from time to time to a member of the Society who has made meritorious contributions to the Society’s administration, organisation, and endeavours.

The Society's Medal was the first initiative of the Society to recognize its members' contributions, deriving in concept from the Society's Money Prize of 1882.  It was awarded for published papers from 1884 to 1896, together with a money prize of £25, but was discontinued from 1897 to 1942.  In 1943, it was revived (without the money prize) as an award for a member of the Society who had made meritorious contributions to the advancement of science, including administration and organization of scientific endeavour and for services to the Society.

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Recent Medal Winners

2020: Emerita Professor Mary O’Kane AC FRSN FTSE Hon FIEAust

Emerita Professor Mary O'KaneEmerita Professor Mary O’Kane was appointed as the first New South Wales Chief Scientist and Engineer in 2008 and remained in the position until 2018. Prior to that she was Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide from 1996 to 2001. From 1994 to 1996 she was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Adelaide. From 1989 to 1993 she was Dean of the Faculty of Information Sciences and Engineering at the University of Canberra.

Early on, as the New South Wales Chief Scientist and Engineer, she established a relationship between her office and the Royal Society of New South Wales which, in essence, provided the Society with access to the State Government. She was a strong supporter of the Society, providing funding for the publication of the Journal and Proceedings. Later she provided funding and hosted the Four Societies Lecture when it was the Royal Society's turn to organise this event. She also instigated an awards mechanism for the Society, by which the Science Deans of NSW and ACT universities came together under her chairmanship to make recommendations for the Society’s prizes and scholarships. She advocated for the Society in government and also was a strong supporter of the Royal Society of New South Wales and Four Academies Forum held annually at Government House, Sydney.

2019: Emeritus Professor Brynn Hibbert AM FRSN

Emeritus Professor David Brynn Hibbert AM FRSN was the second incumbent of the Chair of Analytical Chemistry at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.  His research interests are in electroanalytical chemistry and chemometrics and metrology in chemistry.  He has published approximately 250 papers, five books and holds several patents. He is past Chair of the Analytical Division of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Secretary of the Analytical Division of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, was a Council member of the Australian Academy for Forensic Sciences and was President of the Society during 2016-17.

As a Council member of the Royal Society of NSW, Vice-President and President he has contributed strongly to every aspect of the Society’s governance. He was key in establishing the reputation of the category of Fellow when it was introduced in 2012, and has continued this work as Chair of the Fellows and Members Assessment Committee to this day.

As President, he continued to provide momentum to the Society’s growth through a most effective, good-natured leadership style that encouraged the contribution of the entire membership and fostered the collegiate nature of the Society to great effect.  Continuing as Vice-President (immediate Past-President), he has brought wisdom and good judgement to many important issues considered by Council.

In the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Emeritus Professor Hibbert was made a Member of The Order of Australia for significant service to science in the discipline of chemistry, to professional societies, and to sport through illicit drug profiling.

Emeritus Professor Hibbert is a worthy recipient of The Royal Society of NSW Medal.

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2017: Dr Donald Hector AM FRSN

Dr Hector was President of the Society from 2012 to 2015. Under his presidency, the Society undertook major strategic initiatives that rebuilt its membership, invigorated its programs, including the now annual Forum, and modernized its back-office processes. Dr Hector’s infectious enthusiasm and his approach of leading by doing, combined with his scientific, managerial and administrative skills, have helped move the Society forward to new endeavours, reinforcing the Society’s position as a leader in the intellectual life of New South Wales and the country.

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List of Recipients of the Royal Society of NSW Medal

Year & RecipientYear & Recipient

1884    W.E. Abbott
1886    S.H. Cox
1887    J. Seaver
1888    Rev. J.E. Tenison-Woods
1889    T. Whitelegge
              Rev. J. Mathew
1891    Rev. J. Milne Curran
1892    A.G. Hamilton
1894    J.V. De Coque
              R.H. Mathew
1895    C.J. Martin
1896    Rev. J. Milne Curran
1943    E. Cheel (Botany)
1948    W.L. Waterhouse (Agriculture)
1949    A.P. Elkin (Anthropology)
1950    O.U. Vonwiller (Physics)
1951    A.R. Penfold (Applied Chemistry)
1953    A.B. Walkhom (Palaeobotany)
1954    D.P. Mellor (Chemistry)
1955    W.G. Woolnough (Geology)
1956    W.R. Browne (Geology)
1957    R.C.L. Bosworth (Physical Chemistry) 
1958    F.R. Morrison (Applied Chemistry)
1959    R.C.L. Bosworth
              Ida A. Brown
1960    T. Griffith Taylor
1961    A. Bollinger
1962    H.W. Wood
1963    R.S. Nyholm
1964    F.D. McCarthy
1965    F. Lions
1966    H.A.J. Donegan
1967    A.F.A. Harper
1968    H.H.G. McKern
1969    R.J.W. Le Fevre

1970    J.A. Dulhunty  
1971    J.L. Griffith
1972    W.H.G. Poggendorff
1973    R.L. Stanton
1975    W.H. Robertson
1976    E.K. Chaffer
1977    J.W. Humphries
1978    M.J. Puttock
1979    A.A. Day
1980    M. Krysko v Tryst
1981    W.E. Smith
1982    W.B. Smith-White
1984    R.S. Vagg
1985    D.J. Swaine
1986    S.C. Haydon
1987   G.S. Gibbons
1988    R. Bhathal
1989    J.H. Loxton
1990    F.L. Sutherland
1991    D.E. Winch
1992    W.G.K. Ford
1993    H.G. Royle
1994    E.C. Potter
1995    G.C. Lowenthal
1996    P.M. Callaghan
1997    E.D. O'Keeffe
1998    D.F. Branagan AM
1999    D.J. O'Connor
2000    P.R. Evans
2001    P.A. Williams
2003    C.F. Wilmot
2007    G. Brown DistFRSN
2012    J. R. Hardie AM FRSN
2014    The Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO DistFRSN
2017    D. C. Hector AM FRSN
2019   D. B. Hibbert AM FRSN
2020   M. O’Kane AC FRSN

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These prestigious awards for excellence in science, technology, philosophy, and the arts, awarded by Australia's oldest learned society, recognise outstanding achievements. The Society's portfolio of awards has been entirely revamped in 2023 to provide greater breadth, to recognise recent and evolving disciplines, and emerging as well as established research stars.  Information about the new structure and portfolio of awards is provided on the main awards page

Winners of the 2023 awards will be announced at the 1318th Ordinary General Meeting of the Society to be held on 29 November 2023 and will be publish on the website shortly thereafter.

Winners of awards in previous years, and information about the awards program prior to 2023, may be found on the Past Awards page of this website.

Nominations for the 2024 Awards will open on 1 July 2024, with information about the new awards and how to apply available from the Awards menu on this website.

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