Old Perth Observatory: where science organised a state

March 12, 2012

Toner Stevenson
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.

Letter by H C Russell, 30 May 1889

May 30, 2009

12 Sydney Observatory May 30 1889 L Kingsmill Esquire Dear Sir Your letter of May 29 with newspaper just received. And in reply I would advise you to take no notice whatever of what anyone may say either in the newspaper or out of it so long as you know that you do your duty: I have good reason for believing that your measures of the rainfall are quite correct because I have compared them with other carefully kept records and the mere fact that two gauges differ in a rainstorm is nothing to those who understand the matter.

Letter by H C Russell, 15 May 1889

May 15, 2009

Observatory 15 May 1889 Chas H Caswell Esquire Dear Sir A full answer to your questions would involve a knowledge of the rainfall and climate of the other colonies as full and complete as that which has been published for this colony, and that has not been made possible either for the Victoria or South Australia both are behind hand in the publishing which give the required information rain has been measured there; but abstracts such as would be this case have not been published.

Letter by W Scott, 9 April 1859

April 9, 2009

Observatory Sydney April 9 1859 59/38 Sir I enclose a check for the amount expended by you on account of the Meteorological Observatory. I presume you understand that the thermometer stand is not to be placed in or near any building but in an open space protected by fencing from cattle or mischief of persons.

Letter by H A Lenehan, 31 March 1887

March 31, 2009

Sydney Observatory March 31st 1887 55/87 Dear Sir Replying to your of the 28th inst the Walcha evaporation is the average annual evaporation for the last four years. It seems excessive but the conditions under which the record is made are not the same as a tank or waterhole the record is made from a can which has its sides exposed to the sun and wind and gives a greater reading, but it is the only result in your locality.

Letter by W Scott, 22 March 1859

March 22, 2009

Observatory Sydney March 22, 1859 59/31 My Dear Sir: I am much obliged by your ready attention to my letter respecting the meteorological observations, and have no doubt of the goodness of your selection of a new observer.

Letter by H C Russell, 17 March 1871

March 17, 2009

330 Sydney Observatory 17 March 1871 Dear Sir Mr Donaldson informed me that he has sent the meteorological Instruments I forwarded to him; to you and that you will forward the usual returns. I shall be very glad to receive from you such meteorological information as you may find time to send for the climate of Bourke is a matter of great interest from a scientific point of view – especially the amount of rain and the direction and force of the wind as these features are connected with the winds, and of course the climate of the whole Colony.

Letter by H C Russell, 13 March 1871

March 13, 2009

591 and 592 13 March Observatory Dear Sir I was just about writing to you re returns when your letter came. I am sorry you should think that perhaps I considered New Caledonia of secondary importance.

Letter by H C Russell, 12 March 1891

March 12, 2009

167-168 March 12th Thomas Beard Esqre Cattatunda Sta Dear Sir Yours of March 9th reac me in due course and I am muc obliged to you for sending me the infor about the extraordinary storm on Mar 1st.

Letter by H C Russell, 10 March 1891

March 10, 2009

163 March 10 1 Dear Sir Yours of March 2nd 91 in reference to a Raingauge for Mrs John G Mitchell. Will you kindly help my Geography a little: I have sent one Government Raingauge to Pine Ridge to Mr G Stewart, and I wanted to know how Mount Elliott is situated with regard to Pine Ridge Mr G Stewart’s place: because if they are close together the Instructions about the distribution of Raingauges; which forbids me sending two to the same place would come into force.

Letter by W Scott, 5 March 1858

March 5, 2009

Observatory Sydney March 5 1858 58/37 Sir I regret to hear that one of the thermometers has been broken by an undue application of heat. No head should be applied greater than that of the hand. In future the Observers will be held answerable for instruments broken through want of care, or in judicious treatment.

Letter by H C Russell, 18 February 1871

February 18, 2009

292 Sydney Observatory 18 Feb 1871 Sir The Max thermometer is purposely made as you describe yours so that it records the High temperature for each day and it must be shaken back to its place at 9am each day.

Letter by H C Russell, 9 February 1872

February 9, 2009

570 Sydney Observatory 9th Feby 1872 My dear Sir I duly received your return for January & knowing you take an interest in the results has induced me to mention the fact: that our sum of the rainfall taken from your return comes out 7.30: and we are not sure which is correct, the sum, or the daily entries.

Letter by H C Russell, 8 February 1900

February 8, 2009

243 Condobolin Post Master Condobolin Your max temperature unsatisfactory too high have you moved the maximum thermometer. H C Russell Observatory February 8

Letter by H C Russell, 29 January 1891

January 29, 2009

131-132 Janry 29th RJ Campbell Esqre Licensed Surveyor Dear Sir Your letter of 17th duly received I am much obliged for the promise of observations. which will render the record of that district more complete although we have now rain records all round Alectown.