Built in 1858, Sydney Observatory is Australia’s oldest observatory, and one of the most significant sites in the nation’s scientific history. It is recognised as an item of ‘state significance’ by the New South Wales Government and is heritage listed.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Observatory was essential to shipping, navigation, meteorology and timekeeping as well as to the study of the stars seen from the Southern Hemisphere. The Government Astronomers worked and lived in the building until 1982* when Sydney Observatory became part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.
Today the Observatory is a museum and public observatory with an important role in astronomy education and public telescope viewing. It contains an 1874 29cm lens telescope, a 42cm computer-controlled telescope and a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope, able to be viewed through by visitors during booked sessions. There are also a virtual reality 3-D space theatre, exhibitions about astronomy, meteorology and the history of Sydney Observatory, cosy planetarium, lecture theatrette, souvenir shop and beautiful gardens.