Mt Stromlo salutes its past

A replica of the Oddie telescope. Photo courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

A REPLICA of the first telescope at Mt Stromlo Observatory was unveiled today as part of the Observatory’s centenary.

The Oddie II telescope arrived at the centenary celebrations on a vintage truck.

The original telescope first looked to the skies in September 1911 after the Commonwealth was persuaded Australia needed an observatory in Canberra.

The telescope was named after James Oddie, of Ballarat, who donated the nine-inch refracting telescope and Mt Stomlo was established as the Australian site for solar observing.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, who officially unveiled the telescope, said the special event recognised the 100 years of solar observation and the role Mt Stromolo observatory has played in Canberra.

“Iconic names such as Charles Weston, John Smith Murdoch and Charles Scrivener – so integral to Canberra’s early growth – are also part of Mt Stromlo’s history,” she said.

“Charles Weston established the Observatory’s park-like setting in the early years of its development to align with Griffin’s ‘garden city’ theme.

“The observatory was devastated in 2003 when the original telescope was destroyed by the bushfires that tore through this area.

“This replica will remind us of this important part of our heritage, and will be on permanent display and available to the public to look through as did our early astronomers.”


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