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Abbott, Francis (1799 - 1883)

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Watch maker, Astronomer and Meteorologist
Born: 12 August 1799  Derby, England.  Died: 18 February 1883  Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
Francis Abbott, a watchmaker, was transported to Tasmania in 1845 for 'obtaining two watches under false pretences'. He served one year with the Oyster Cove gangs and three years as an assigned servant. Abbott was freed three years early in 1849 and set up his own business in Hobart. He was very successful and many of his public clocks, including one at Government House, were erected. Francis Abbott also had a keen interest in meteorology and astronomy. His reputation in this field soon overshadowed his watch and clock making abilities. He began making observations at the Rossbank Observatory soon after his arrival inTasmania. After its closure in 1854 he continued his work in his private observatory. Self-taught, Abbott went on to pioneer observations of the southern hemisphere and contributed numerous articles to astronomy and meteorological journals. He also wrote several books. His recordings became the standard reference for the local climate and were published in world charts. He was also the first astronomer to record and announce changes on the variable star Argus (Carinae). Many of his large collection of books (philosophy and science) and instruments are kept by museums, observatories and universities around Australia.

Career Highlights

1821Married Mary Woolley at St Werburgh's Church in Derby, UK
1831Honorary member of the Antiquarian and Chronological Society of London
1838A Treatise on the Management of Public Clocks published in London
1844Sentenced to seven years transportation by the Central Criminal Court in England
1845Arrived in Hobart Town, Tasmania
1849Received a ticket-of-leave and started a watch and clockmaker business in Murray St, Hobart
1850Wife and family granted free passage to join him
1854 - 1880Began recording meteorological observations which were published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
1855Member of the Royal Society of Tasmania
1859Clock at Government House erected
1860Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, London
1861Life member and councillor of the Royal Society of Tasmania
1869Fellow of the Royal Meterological Society
1878Modern Astronomy published in Hobart
1879Résumé on Modern Astronomy published in Hoabrt
1880Siderereal Systems of the Modern Austronomy, Multiple Suns and Far-off Worlds published in Tas

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Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: McCarthy, G.J.
Created: 20 October 1993
Modified: 29 January 2007

Published by The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre on ASAPWeb, 1994 - 2007
Originally published 1994-1999 by Australian Science Archives Project, 1999-2006 by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre
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Updated: 26 February 2007

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