Melbourne Observatory’s 150th Anniversary

The 150th anniversary of the Melbourne Observatory was celebrated with an afternoon of fun family activities.

The anniversary was marked by an historical re-enactment in the presence of His Excellency the Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC, Governor of Victoria, who unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. Dressed in period costume, appearances were made by the then Governor of the day Sir Henry Barkly and the Government Astronomer Robert Ellery who attended the Observatory’s opening in 1863.

Today the Melbourne Observatory is best known for its distinctive shaped buildings and the popular stargazing tours, but in the rapidly growing nineteenth century city of Melbourne, telling the time accurately was a major challenge. The Melbourne Observatory provided the time for a clock in Bourke Street as well as the clocks at Flinders and Spencer Street railway stations.

The celebrations were held at the Observatory Plaza on Saturday 23 November and included

  • Free guided tours of the Melbourne Observatory with the Astronomical Society of Victoria (ASV)
  • Viewing of the Sun and Alpha Centauri from a range of available telescopes, both new and historical
  • An historical re enactment with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque 
  • Children’s activities including face painting and crafting telescope and space hat activities
  • Roving entertainers
  • The Infinity Dome: an inflatable planetarium
  • Music performances by "The Light of the Moon Trio"
  • Book signing by Dr Richard Gillespie - The Great Melbourne Telescope
  • Presentaions by the Astronomical Society of Victoria

The celebrations continued on Sunday 24 November with the Astronomical Society of Victoria's Colonial Astronomy Seminar.