The Society was originally founded as the Hong Kong Biological Circle in late 1949 by the legendary John Romer, who became its founding Chairman, and of course is remembered as the discoverer of the tiny frog Philautus romeri, better known as Romer’s Tree Frog. In 1957, John was responsible for the change of name to the Hong Kong Natural History Society in a successful effort to encourage wider membership of the object of the Society – to facilitate and encourage the study of natural history in general and in particular that of Hong Kong.
Since 1949, the Society has only had six other chairmen, Joe Fearon (1974 – 1977), Mike Bascombe, (1977-1982), Derek Kemp (1982-1984), John Hodgkiss (1984 – 2003), Dave England (from 2003 – 2012), Ken Bradley (2013-2020), and Ted Doleman is the current chairman. The Society has had many specialists of flora and fauna amongst its members over the years, publishing articles on Hong Kong Natural History irregularly in Memoirs of the Hong Kong Natural History Society. These days we only have a handful of amateur natural history enthusiasts among our members to point out items of particular interest but are always keen for any interested persons to join us.
Currently, we have a membership of approximately 60, composed of many different nationalities, who all have a common abiding passion – a love of the Hong Kong countryside. The Society organises regular hikes in the beautiful country park areas of Hong Kong from November to April, often with the luxury of coach transport to take us to remote hiking areas and to return us, exhausted but happy, to Kowloon & Central districts. In the summer months, the Society arranges boat outings to the more remote islands of Hong Kong for exploration and relaxation. Expert-led nature walks, visits to nature reserves and conservation sites, and dinner talks on a variety of natural history topics are held throughout the year.