The beautiful Sydney Observatory building which I have loved since first seeing it soon after I moved to Sydney in 1975.
Sydney Observatory was built between 1857 and 1859. Its design combined the practical needs of an observatory and astronomer’s residence with the impressive appearance of a public building in an Italianate style.
The site of Sydney Observatory, now known as Observatory Hill, was previously known as Windmill Hill, Citadel Hill, Fort Phillip and Flagstaff Hill, describing its functions over time. All of these functions relied on its location as the highest point overlooking Sydney Harbour. For all of these functions, it had to have a clear view to the distance and be clearly visible, so its setting has some of the best views in Sydney.
The beautiful telescope in the south dome was installed to observe the 1874 Transit of Venus. It is the oldest working telescope in Australia and is of immense historic importance. It has a large lens of 29cm diameter at the far end of the tube.
From 1887 Sydney Observatory took part in an international project to photograph and map the entire sky. It took almost 80 years for the Observatory to document the large zone of the southern sky it had been allocated.