Series 118 - ANU Astronomy site testing records and log books

Identity area

Reference code



ANU Astronomy site testing records and log books


  • 1950s - 1991 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

4.0 m (20 type 1 boxes and one folder)

Context area

Name of creator

(1957 - 1998)

Biographical history

The Department of Astronomy was established in the Research School of Physical Sciences when the Mount Stromlo Observatory became part of the Australian National University in 1957. It had since 1924 been the Commonwealth Solar Observatory. In 1946 when the Australian National University Act was passed, Richard Woolley was its director and, as a personal friend to Nugget Coombs, was well placed to argue for the inclusion of a department of astronomy and astrophysics at the fledgling university. Woolley met unexpected resistance from Mark Oliphant, the newly appointed director of the Research School of Physical Sciences who rejected the inclusion of the Observatory on the grounds of its continuing statutory responsibilities being incompatible with the structure and organisation of the school. As a compromise, Woolley would be appointed an Honorary Professor of Astronomy with the right to appoint a research fellow to his staff and supervise supervise research students, creating a de-facto Department of Astronomy. In 1954 the first Doctor of Philosophy degree awarded by the University was to one of these students, Antoni Przybylski. On Woolley's appointment as Astronomer Royal in 1955 the University administration agreed to incorporate the Observatory into the University and establish a Professor of Astronomy who would also act as its Director. The Mount Stromlo Observatory Act 1956 gave effect to this change and the observatory was renamed the Mount Stromlo Observatory and made a department within the research school. By 1962, the expanding Canberra population made it clear that a better site needed to be found. The decision was made to establish a permanent ‘field station’ rather than totally relocate the observatory. Siding Spring (near Coonabarabran) was officially opened on 5 April 1965. The department was renamed the Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories (MSSSO) and became an Institute of Advanced Studies centre in 1986. In 1998 it became the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

There are site testing records from a number of locations including Mt Stromlo, Siding Spring, western New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The logbooks relate mainly to the Mt Stromlo and Siding Spring observatories.


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Researchers must sign an access agreement. Open access under a thirty-year rule

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Dates of creation revision deletion

Prepared by Maggie Shapley on 12 November 2007 updated by Sarah Lethbridge 5 January 2009. Created from deposit description on 12 February 2016


  • English



Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places