The Royal Society of Tasmania is the oldest scientific society in Australia and New Zealand. It was founded in 1843 by Sir John Eardley-Wilmot, Lieutenant Governor, as the Botanical and Horticultural Society of Van Diemen's Land to 'develop the physical character of the Island and illustrate its natural history and productions'. Queen Victoria became Patron in 1844 and the name was changed to The Royal Society of Tasmania of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany and the Advancement of Science. The name was shortened to The Royal Society of Tasmania in 1911.
A branch of the Society was formed in Launceston in 1853. It lapsed but was reconstituted in 1921.