Mt Stromlo Observatory


This weekend’s walk with my camera was pre-planned.  I’d booked my spot on the tour a month ago.

Mt Stromlo holds site tours every few months and they are well worth attending.  There’s more standing than walking, but you get to see inside buildings normally closed to visitors.  The guide was great.  The tours are free.

The 2003 fires destroyed all the telescopes and most of the buildings.  Not everything is being replaced.  The site was heritage listed before the fires, and that limits what can be done to the remains of the existing buildings.  However, the biggest issue is the proximity to the increasingly bright lights of Canberra.  The fires were an opportunity to redirect the institution’s focus.  Who knew Canberra has a space program!

Useful links

ABC News

ANU Observatories


Mt Stromlo - Building Remains
Aluminium domes on some of the observatories melted in the heat.



Mt Stromlo - Building Remains Detail
What’s left of the dome’s mechanisms.


Mt Stromlo - The Tour
A lot of standing, but plenty of walking, with the white dome in the far distance on the left our furthest stopping point.


Mt Stromlo - First Observatory Remains
The remains of the first observatory on Mt Stromlo, built in 1924 before Canberra was even Canberra.


Mt Stromlo - Wall Detail
The detail and patina on the buildings make them artworks in themselves …


Mt Stromlo - New Workshops
… which contrasts with the new buildings – this one is the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre.


Mt Stromlo - New Laser Telescope
And ending with the new laser telescope.



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