The Perth Observatory has a long and distinguished history serving the state of Western Australia. A timeline of the many milestones in our history is below.

1890 - 1899

1981 – WA Premier John Forrest proposes Observatory

1986 – William Ernest Cooke is appointed as the state’s first Government Astronomer

1897 – The Main Office Building is completed

1898 – Kullberg clocks are purchased and installed

1898 – Troughton & Simms 6″ Meridian Telescope arrives

1899 – Howard Grubb 13″ Astrographic Telescope arrives (Perth’s population 26,600)

1900 - 1909

1900 – Troughton & Simms 6″ Meridian Telescope is installed

1901 – Howard Grubb 13″ Astrographic Telescope is installed

1901 – Milne seismograph installed

1901 – Observations of Great Southern Comet

1901 – Star mapping started;

1901 – One o’clock time gun commenced

1908 – Meteorological services went to the Commonwealth Meteorological Service – the Service (Bureau) remained at the Observatory until 1967

1910 - 1919

1911 – Tidal measurements started;

1911 – Expedition to Tongan solar eclipse;

1911 – Calver 12.5″ reflector arrives and is installed (first telescope used for public viewing)

1912 – Harold Curlewis is appointed as the state’s second Government Astronomer

1920 - 1929

1920 – Astronomy staff reduced to two people during the great depression and remained at this level until the post-war period (Through to 1950)

1922 – Part of the expedition to Wallal for the solar eclipse to prove Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity

1940 - 1949

1940 – Hyman Spigl is appointed as the state’s third Government Astronomer

1942 – US Navy broadcast Perth Observatory time signal at short wavelengths (Through to 1945)

1950 - 1959

1955 – One o’clock time gun ends – time signals now sent to radio stations

1957 – No. 94 Shortt synchronome clock arrives from Synchronome Co., London

1957 – Project Moonwatch – program to track early artificial satellites (Through to 1961)

1958 – Markowitz Moon camera on Astrograph

1960 - 1969

1961 – No. 11 Shortt synchronome clock purchased from Greenwich Observatory

1962 – Bertrand Harris is appointed as the state’s fourth Government Astronomer

1962 – Seismic work moved to Mundaring Geophysical Observatory

1963 – Zeiss plate measuring machine arrives

1966 – New Perth Observatory opened at Bickley

1967 – Hamburg Observatory Meridian Telescope expedition (Through to 1971)

1969 – University of Western Australia’s 40cm Telescope is installed

1969 – Astrographic Catalogue second epoch plates (Through to 1985)

1970 - 1979

1970 – First Minor planet discovered at the new Observatory (MP 2993 Wendy)

1971 – Lowell 24” Telescope is installed

1973 – IAU Symposium no. 61 held in Perth

1974 – Dr Iwan Nikoloff is appointed as the state’s fifth Government Astronomer

1980 - 1989

1984 – Michael Candy is appointed as the state’s sixth Government Astronomer

1986 – Comet Halley CCD observations in collaboration with the University of Maryland and Lowell Observatory

1987 – Night tours recommence

1988 – Perth Astronomy Research Group (PARG) is formed

1990 - 1999

1992 – The Lowell telescope is reopened as the Perth Lowell Automated Telescope (PLAT)

1994 – Dr James Biggs is appointed as the state’s seventh Government Astronomer

1995 – Foundation members of Probing Lensing Anomalies with a Network of Telescopes (PLANET)

1995 – Perth Observatory Volunteer Group (POVG) formed

1996 – Perth Observatory’s centenary, host ASA conference

2000 - 2010

2006 – Hands on the Universe Telescopes is installed

2010 – Ralph Martin is appointed as the state’s eighth Government Astronomer

2010 – Bureau of Meteorology Ionosonde Tower is installed

2012 – Official research ends at Perth Observatory

2010 - 2019

2015 – The Perth Observatory Volunteer Group signs a commercial lease agreement with the Department of Parks and Wildlife to run the Observatory

2016 – The Observatory celebrates its 120th birthday and 50 years in Bickley

2017 – The COMSPOC Telescope is installed

2017 – The Perth Observatory Volunteer Group celebrates its 21st birthday