This presentation describes the background and impetus for this Special Session on Springs of the Great Artesian Basin sponsored by the Royal Society of Queensland. The Royal Society has a long and rich involvement in science dating back to 1859, the year Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony. Publication of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland is the foundational role of the Society and brings to international attention peer-reviewed research as well as commentary from researchers and practitioners on management applications of science.
From time to time, the Society publishes a Special Issue of its Proceedings devoted to a theme of particular interest. In 2018 the Council of the Society agreed to publish a Special Issue of its Proceedings devoted to Springs of the Great Artesian Basin. Australia’s Great Artesian Basin springs provide a unique focal point for the intersection of many types of knowledge – First Nations’ and colonial perspectives, discovery, science and management, governance and policy. Progress across these themes has been significant since the early descriptions of the Great Artesian Basin and the ecosystems dependent on groundwater resources, yielding many individual publications and technical reports. The Royal Society recognised the need for consolidated knowledge to support evidence-based management, and for a strategy for the future of these precious ecosystems. A funding drive has yielded generous contributions to cover publication costs, and to sponsor this Special Session of the Australasian Groundwater Conference – a very welcome opportunity to showcase some of the exciting papers about springs already in production.
The complete Special Issue will include 20 or so papers spanning Indigenous values and uses of springs, the history of springs research, their distribution, hydrogeology, biodiversity, threats, risks, management strategies and conservation issues and a perspective on the future, given present and future developments and threats. Digital and print copies of the Special Issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland – Springs of the Great Artesian Basin – can be ordered from the Society.