Brush Turkey – and RAOU Membership

Being a callow youth at the time I can only guess (others on list may have a view) but at least in Sydney, meetings were held under the joint auspices of the Royal Zoological Society and Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union – i.e. they did operate under Royal patronage and membership was valued. I have no idea what happened in Melbourne but monthly meetings were pretty serious affairs in Sydney with some of the "names" of the day all in attendance like Norm Chaffer, Alec Chisholm etc.
My mother used to take me in to Bulls Chambers in Martin Place (which was the office of RZS I think) and we would sit up the back very quietly while I was enthralled with the evening’s presentation, latest photography and sightings. We were officially "visitors" when we signed the attendance register.
It was always run as a very formal meeting with a Chairman, Treasurer’s report, formal presentations and any other business etc. This was of course in pre digital times and not all that long after the end of WW2 where communication was telephone or typed or handwritten mail only, so it was an evening of valued exchange and update I believe – and not without occasional warm debate if there was a disputed sighting record! – there was nothing to confirm any record other than the Observer’s "field cred."
Keith Hindwood was the elected President and Chairman at a point and was also Honorary Ornithologist at the Australian Museum.
There was a slight murmur of shock around the room when Keith nominated a mere boy for membership from the Chair (seconded by Jack Waterhouse as I recall, who was a neighbour and keen photographer). Given Keith’s standing there was happily no dissent and no "nays" when the vote was taken – and so it came to pass.
So in summary Peter it was just a somewhat exclusive organisation in those far off days and while interesting to recall,  we now need all the members and the loudest voices for birds and conservation we can get so more power to Birdlife? Anyone who cares will have figured out by now this is my 75th year – body seems to recognise that even if the birding mentality and thrill of the field work still says 25!!
Good birding to all – especially when borders come down and other countries beckon.
Graeme Stevens

From: Peter Shute <;
Sent: Tuesday, 9 June 2020 2:18 PM
To: ‘Graeme Stevens’ <;; <;
Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Brush Turkey

Why did they require nomination for membership?

Peter Shute

Graeme Stevens wrote:
> BTW I was excited to buy my copy of Keith Hindwood and Arnold McGills’ book the day it was announced at a joint RZS  and RAOU (now Birdlife) meeting for 12 shillings and sixpence autographed by both authors. I was 13 and greatly privileged to be mentored by Keith. He nominated me for membership of the RAOU and yes in those ancient times one had to be nominated and seconded for membership!

Comments are closed.