After four years managing the Perth Observatory at Bickley, there are reminders everywhere of what we’ve achieved.
The refurbished theatre, the 14 inch Meade telescope, the 30-inch Obsession in its Sirius Dome, the Amphitheatre delineating the edges of the back lawn, and much more.
Our Lotterywest-funded projects are well ahead of schedule, the restored Benson and Kullberg clocks tick away in the museum, over 10,000 glass plates are now digitised, and oral histories have been collected from 27 former staff and associates. At the east of the administration building a covered BBQ and seating area is under construction, and on the hilltop, at the edge of the observing area is Worl Wangkiny – a striking art installation and new space for Aboriginal story-telling and culture.
It is gratifying to see growing numbers of volunteers in their signature blue shirts presenting in a range of onsite and off-site events. They work as Gatekeepers to greet visitors; translate d scan, record, and file documents; as well as maintaining the grounds, buildings, domes and equipment.
With more than 140 members now, POVG is a major contributor to the Astronomy community in WA. We have grown in number and diversity and welcomed our ninth intake of 20 new “vollies” in September. With the busy summer season in full swing, we’re rewarded by the enthusiasm of visitors from near and far, all curious to experience the southern night sky and learn more about astronomy. Repeat visits and recommendations keep us enthused too, as we live with the commitment to maintain and grow a not-for-profit living museum of science and technology.
Our busy program of diverse astronomy experiences is well subscribed and has been rewarded with prizes, awards and acknowledgments. The quest to secure optimal operational funding to underpin this huge effort from our voluntary workforce has been less successful.
Financially, winter 2019 was especially difficult, but vollies opted to do more, work harder and increase the capacity of events to raise the funds to pay for utilities, repairs, and salaries of our skeleton team of operational support staff.
As I end my tenure as POVG Chair, I say thanks to all our supporters, volunteers, employees, and especially my committee and subcommittee colleagues who have helped guide tough decisions this year.
Our new Management Committee, elected at the AGM in November, will be chaired by Dr Colin Armstrong, who brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to this role. Colin is supported by Bevan Harris as Deputy, Paul Jones as Secretary and Ken Stranger as Treasurer.
The 2020 committee combines youth and experience with Steve Ewing, Chris Coulstock and Geoff Scott returning from the 2019 committee, and Dr Jan Baldwin, Zoe Fraussen, and Paul Wadham joining the group for the first time. I hope you enjoy reading our news articles about Saturn, What’s Happening in the Sky, and an Ode to our new Volunteers. Your support over the past four years has been invaluable, and I’m sure will continue as we move into a new phase of management at the iconic Perth Observatory in Bickley.
May 2015 to November 2019