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Corporate entry Sydney Observatory

State of New South Wales

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Astronomy or Space Science
Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney, New South Wales


Sydney Observatory began as a time-ball tower in the mid-nineteenth century. It was soon expanded and became a full observatory. The Observatory was converted in 1982 and now operates as a museum, focusing on astronomy and its history. Sydney Observatory, along with the Powerhouse Museum, is managed by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

Related People

Published resources


  • Kerr, James Semple, Sydney Observatory: a Conservation Plan for the Site and its Structures (Sydney: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, 2002), 84 pp. Details
  • Russell, H. C., The Sydney Observatory: history and progress (Sydney: Thomas Richards, Govt. Printer, 1882). Details
  • Russell, Roslyn, Two People and a Place: the Family Who Lived in Sydney Observatory (Sydney: Roslyn Russell Museum Services, 2008), 219 pp. Details
  • Wood, H. W., Sydney Observatory, 1858 to 1958 (Sydney: 1958). Details
  • Wood, Harley, Sydney Observatory 1958 to 1981 (Sydney: Government Printer, 1982), 14 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Bhathal, Ragbir, '150 Years of Sydney Observatory', Astronomy & Geophysics, 50 (3) (2009), 26-30. Details
  • Nightingale, H. C., 'Centenary of Sydney Observatory', The Australian Surveyor (1958), 95-101. Details
  • Orchiston, W., 'From Research to Recreation: the Rise and Fall of Sydney Observatory', Vistas in Astronomy, 32 (1988), 49-63. Details
  • Orchiston, Wayne, 'Sydney Observatory - Past, Present and Future', British Astronomical Association, New South Wales Branch Bulletin, 609 (Suppl (1982). Details
  • Orchiston, Wayne, 'Illuminating Incidents in Antipodean Astronomy: Phillip Parker King and the Founding of Sydney Observatory', Vistas in Astronomy, 32 (1988), 285-301. Details
  • Orchiston, Wayne, 'Mission Impossible: William Scott and the First Sydney Observatory Directorship', Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 1 (1) (1998), 21-43. Details
  • Tasker, Ian, 'Power, politics and personalities in Australian astronomy: William Ernest Cooke and the triangulation of the Pacific by wireless signals', Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 22 (1) (2019), 113-21. Details
  • Wood, H., 'Sydney Observatory 1858-1983', Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 5 (2) (1983), 273-281. Details
  • Wood, H. W., 'Sydney Observatory. its History and Work', Australian Journal of Science, 1 (1939), 189-193. Details



  • Two people and a place: the family who lived in Sydney Observatory
    Gillespie, Richard, Historical Records of Australian Science, 19 (2), (2008), 223-5. Details

See also

Ailie Smith