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Sydney Observatory

brief history ...

Sydney Observatory in 1860
Sydney Observatory 1860
© Unknown

Sydney Observatory was build to fill in the need for a time keeping authority. Every day at 13.00 (1:00 PM), the ball on top of the tower would drop signaling the correct time to the ships in the harbour. Accurate time was needed for navigation, helping to determine the latitude. Fort Denison was relaying the time information to the City of Sydney by firing one of its cannons.

Sydney Observatory was build after the plans made by Alexander Dawson. Initially, Sydney Observatory consisted of a domed room on which was installed a telescope with an equatorial mount and a few annexes. In 1877, Sydney Observatory was extended with a second domed room for astronomical observations.

Sydney Observatory
©2006 Gabriel Ditu
Henry Chamberlain Russell in 1880's started to create a catalog of the sky. To understand the complexity of the task, it's sufficient to say that it took 80 years and required 53 volumes.

As optical astronomy require pristine air and a dark sky, with Sydney becoming a huge light and air polluter, in 1982, Sydney Observatory was transformed in a museum of astronomy and related disciplines.

Trivia: Sydney Observatory is build on the same site as the first flour mill from Sydney. For this reason the name 'Millers Point' was given to the area where grain was unloaded.

tourist information ...

Sydney Observatory - the dropping ball
©2006 Gabriel Ditu

How to get there
Sydney Observatory is easily accessed from Circular Quay train station via a walk through The Rocks (15-20 min walk). Buses and ferries are stopping at Circular Quay too. There is no parking available. See map.

Contact details:
Watson Road, Observatory Hill
The Rocks NSW
PH: (02) 9241 3767
Web Site: Sydney Observatory

Hours of Operation:
Daytime: open every day except Christmas day.
Night-time: open daily except Christmas day and on the evening of Good Friday.

Please visit Sydney Observatory web site for more up to date information.
18 November
1941 - Chris Watson died, third Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1867)

1941 - Operation Crusader, the third, and ultimately successful attempt to relieve the Siege of Tobruk, begins.
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