I visited Old Perth Observatory, located in King’s Park on Mt Eliza, a fabulous site with park and river views, in November 2011. The site is under the custodianship of the National Trust of Western Australia and the purpose of my visit was to see what remained of the Old Perth Observatory and look for evidence of the Astrographic Catalogue work as part of broader doctoral research for The University of Sydney Museum Studies Department.
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THIS IS THE FINAL LETTER IN A PROJECT COMMENCED ON 5 JUNE LAST YEAR (2008) TO MARK THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF SYDNEY OBSERVATORY. Every day for a year, we have posted the image and transcription of a letter (sometimes more than one) written on (or near to) the day/month date of years from 1858 to 1903.
140/89 Sydney Observatory June 3rd 1889 Dear Sir The stove pipe in the Messenger’s quarters has fallen in and is beyond repairing – will you kindly give instructions for a new one to be placed in position, as apart from the smoke filling the room there is the danger of fire catching the building.
Observatory May 13th 1863 Sir I have the honor herewith to forward the estimate of the probable cost of repairs to the observatory buildings for the year 1864, furnished by the colonial architect.
369 Govt Observatory 24 April 1871 Sir I have the honor to request that you will take the necessary steps to have some repairs to the vane and Time Ball machinery effected. The vane will not show the direction of the wind being too stiff to turn.
9 The Astronomer to The Hon. The Colonial Secretary requesting leave of absence 11 Macquarie St South Sydney April 22 1857 57/31 Sir Understanding that many weeks may elapse before some of the Instruments for the distant Stations reach their destinations, I propose to take the opportunity of visiting the other Australian colonies, principally on my own account but in some degree with a view to the public service.
298 Sydney Observatory 22 Feby 1871 Sir I have the honor to request that you will take the necessary steps to supply two ladders for the use of the Observatory one 18 or 20 feet and the other 30 feet.
244 Sydney Observatory 18 Janry 1871 Sir After waiting three months for a glass came to protect the Instruments the contractor J Dyer brought it this morning and it is about 18 inches longer than the place it was measured for.
Government Observatory January 11th 1864 Sir I beg to draw your attention to the following matters which require immediate attention. 1st The floors of formal rooms are suffering serious injury from white ants by which they appear to be infested.
233 Sydney Observatory 6th Jan 1871 My dear Sir I will be very much obliged if you will give directions to have the work at the Observatory finished, it has been now in an unfinished state for 4 or 5 weeks and as you may suppose greatly to my inconvenience as one of the rooms in the waiting??
201 Sydney Observatory December 1 1870 Sir I have the honour to request that you will take the necessary steps to have certain repairs done to the paper in the rooms which the plasterer has repaired and as I think torn down the paper in a very unnecessary way rendering the rooms unfit to use in the mean time.
787 17 Nov 5 Dear Sir Early in the previous year it was decided to build a small observatory in the grounds here enclosed. When I left for England, I fully expected the building would have been put up at once: but it has not been done yet.
187 Novr 16 1871 Sir I have the honor to request that a sound floor may be put to the cellar under the Transit Room. The plasterers are now covering a lot of the ?? broken bricks with mortar as the foundation for the floor no grout has been put in to fill the spaces and the consequence is that open spaces will be left under the floor for water to accumulate in to the serious injury of the foundations of the transit Instrument.
181 8 November 0 The Colonial Architect Dear Sir The Plasterer has not done anything to the cellar either yesterday or to day. To my great inconvenience for the whole place is kept in disorder and some parts of our work must rest until he is done.
Sydney Observatory Novr 3d 1887 340/87 James Barnett Esq Coln Architect Dear Sir I have had the woodwork of some of our instrument stands repainted – and the Trustees of the Observatory Park have had the iron railing and railing leading up to the Observatory Gates also painted and as the Gates look very shabby I would be glad if you will ??