350 and 353
27 March 1871
I have the honor to report that the Instruments in the Observatory were on Saturday last placed in great danger by the discharge of Cannon on the Observatory Hill. No doubt the possible consequences were not foreseen: but it is my duty to report that I cannot answer for the consequences if the firing is repeated: for the effects on Saturday last were so serious both to the building and Instruments that I fear a repetition might break glass which would cost £200 to replace beside the irreparable loss of time in getting another lens from England to replace it.
No notice was sent to me that guns were to be fired from the Observatory Hill; I was therefore prevented from pointing out beforehand the danger to which the Instruments would be exposed.
At Fort Denison the house covering the Tidegauge was blown to pieces, the Instrument stopped and the records lost until some repairs could be effected on Monday morning. Records have thus been lost which cannot be recovered. and a considerable outlay required from the New Instrument Fund which is quite insufficient for the other requirements of the Observatory.
I have therefore the honor to request authority to send the vouchers; for repairs to Tidegauge House, to the Treasury for payment in order to save the New Instrument Vote as this outlay is properly chargeable to the vote for the Defence of Sydney.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient Servant
H C Russell