Professor Archibald Liversidge

Book cover

Archibald Liversidge was born on the 17th of November 1846 at Turnham Green, London. In 1872 he took up an appointment as reader in Geology and Assistant in the Laboratory at the University of Sydney. In 1874 he became professor of geology and mineralogy at the same institution.

When Liversidge first arrived at Sydney University he had about ten students and two rooms in the main building but by 1879 he had persuaded the senate to open a Faculty of Science and was its first dean from 1879-1907.

In 1880 he visited Europe as a trustee of the Australian Museum and published his Report upon certain Museums for Technology Science and Art and from this helped to establish the Industrial, Technological and Sanitary Museum which formed the basis of the present Powerhouse Museums collection.

Liversidge also played a major role in the setting up of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Science which held its first congress in 1888.

For all these achievements Liversidge was a somewhat shy and retiring man and never married. He returned to London after his retirement in 1907 and died from a heart attack on the 26th of September 1927.

The Liversidge Lectures, held by the Royal Society of New South Wales, were established under the terms of a bequest to the Society by Professor Liversidge. The lectureship is awarded at intervals of two years for the purpose of encouragement of research in Chemistry. The lectures are published in the Journal and Proceedings of the Society.

A portrait of Professor Liversidge currently hangs in the University of Sydney's Great Hall.

Emeritus Professor Roy MacLeod from the University’s history department has recently released a biography of Archibald Liversidge, detailing Liversidge’s life, interests and contribution to science education in Australia. Click here to view the book.