Chemical Society

Old fashioned  photograph of group of man

The UNSW Chemical Society is one of the oldest societies in Australia, starting off as the Sydney Technical College Chemical Society and evolving to its current manifestation as the UNSW Chemical Society.

The society has been part of the research and teaching careers of a great many renowned Australian chemists. It has also provided an international perspective for young researchers discovering new and exciting things about chemistry.

One of the major roles of the society, apart from organising the weekly research seminars within the school, is its management of a number of bequests; these enable the society to invite distinguished researchers from around Australia and the world to give a series of lectures and to have discussions with staff and students. At least one such series is given each year and previous lecturers have included many Nobel Prize winners.

Membership is open to all staff and students in the School of Chemistry and all members are encouraged to join the committee and help in organising the programme.

More details on particular activities of the society can be found on the following pages:

  • Student Prizes: See how the society supports students.
  • Endowed Lectures: The UNSW Chemical Society administers and helps organise a series of endowed lectureships which allow us to invite pre-eminent scientists to UNSW.
    • Andrews Lectureship (Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry)
    • Cavill Lectureship (Biological Organic Chemistry)
    • Dwyer Lectureship (Inorganic Chemistry)
    • Howard Lectureship (Organic Chemistry)
    • Jeffery Lectureship (Biological Chemistry)
    • Kornis Lecturership (Organic/Medicinal)
    • Mellor Lectureship (Chemical Education)

UNSW Chemical Society 100th Anniversary Conversazione

On 2 August 1913, the newly inaugurated Sydney Technical College Chemical Society held its first meeting. Early meetings were often called 'conversazione' or conversations. To mark the one hundredth anniversary of this event the School of Chemistry held a celebration on 2 August, 2013. 

The event was a great success with guest speakers Prof. Leonard Lindoy (University of Sydney), Prof. Sam Stupp (Northwestern University USA) and Dr. Edith Chow (CSIRO Lindfield), a birthday cake, exhibition, no less than 16 Presidents of the Chemical Society as well as descendants of H.G. Smith, one of the founding fathers of the Chemical Society, in attendance. 

Many thanks go to the people (Lucy Stride, Neeraj Sharma, Ken McGuffin and many others) who organised it. Watch a short video clip of the afternoon:

Former SMH science journalist and chemist Deborah Smith, now at UNSW Science, has written an excellent piece on the history of the UNSW Chemical Society. First published in Chemistry in Australia you can also read it here.

Specially labelled celebratory bottles of wine and commemorative mugs were sold at the event in order to raise funds for the Dwyer Lecture and Medal. The funds help ensure that the very best Inorganic Chemists are invited to share their knowledge with staff and students at UNSW. You may use our secure link if you wish to donate to the Dwyer Fund.

We thank our event sponsors LabTek and Air Liquide for their generosity.



For more information about UNSW Chemical Society contact:

Dr. Albert Fahrenbach (President)
Phone: (02) 9385 4574

Dr. Anna Wang (Secretary)
Phone: (02) 9385 7928