As everyone knows, the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Landing in the “Sea of Tranquility” on 21st July 1969 is imminent and Perth Observatory will be marking the occasion with a special event – complete with 60’s inspired canapes and music, a telescope viewing of the moon, and a viewing of the original NASA footage of the landing “… a small step for mankind …” on the back lawn, and lots of memorabilia. There will also be special fundraising themed dinner at the Lesmurdie Club on July 26th, complete with prizes, a raffle and some informative talks by our very knowledgeable volunteers.
Despite the seasonal wind and rain, our winter program of tours and events is busier than ever. The Bickley site is being transformed. The ten development projects funded by Lotterywest are being implemented on schedule. The centrepiece is the Worl Wangkiny (Sky Stories) Aboriginal Astronomy Centre to be opened in late September.
We have a new golf cart to transport visitors around the site, the museum is poised for renovation, the historic collection of photographic glass plates is being digitised and paper records carefully filed and safely stored. Our iconic Grubb Astrographic telescope is receiving a makeover thanks to a very willing band of capable volunteers.
Recently we have been reminded, too, that ideas, enthusiasm, strategic thinking and hard work do not always attract the level of financial support expected. Sadly, so far, we have not been successful in attracting additional funding to support the team of operational, administrative and support paid staff needed to help us manage the site. On 30th June, sadly we had to say farewell to our Operations Manager, Francesca Flynn and Office Administrator, Julie Matthews.
For now, a small dedicated team of volunteers is working alongside the three remaining part-time tour and maintenance staff to manage day-to-day operations, tours and events. The task of consolidating our resources, re-balancing and finding a suitable funding partner is our top priority in 2019. Since our last Newsletter issue in January, we were closed for repairs in March, welcomed a new band of “vollies” into the Training program in April, and held a “Thank you” social event funded by Volunteering WA in May. A short beginners course in Astronomy (Astronomy 101) is also underway.
In this issue, we highlight the story of the Nannup Clocks and the historic clocks at our Observatory, as well as a book review, cartoons, and astronomy news.
I’d like to thank the Newsletter team and those who have contributed and assembled these stories and reviews for your enjoyment. Special thanks to our new Editor Myra Peggy Rose Glanford, a recent recruit to POVG who has jumped in to help the Newsletter team.
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support.