Piers in Parramatta Park, photo Nick Lomb
On the way back from Linden Observatory last weekend (see post Monday 20 November) Nick visited the site of Parramatta Observatory in Parramatta Park. This was set up by Governor Sir Thomas Brisbane in 1821 to study the then little known southern stars. Brisbane was recalled to Britain four years later, but he sold the instruments to the Government and the observatory carried on as a government observatory until it closed down in 1847.
Obelisk in Parramatta Park, photo by Nick Lomb
The only original remnants of the observatory in Parramatta Park are the two stone piers (top photo) that once supported the observatory’s transit telescope, a type of telescope designed for accurate determination of the positions of stars. Next to the piers is the stone oblisk shown above that was placed there in 1880 supposedly to indicate the position of the transit telescope. It turned out later that it actually shows the location of the kitchen of the astronomer’s residence that was next to the observatory!
Engraved on the obelisk is the outline of a transit telescope. This instrument from Parramatta Observatory is on display at Sydney Observatory, along with the other remaining instruments from the observatory. These instruments of great historical signicance were given to Sydney Observatory in 1858.
If you are passing Parramatta go into the Park and have a look at the remnants of the old observatory. Then come to Sydney Observatory to see the original instruments on display.