The Cabinet of Curiosities
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By Neil Roberts
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First Section - Third Tray

New Horizons - 'Avec un ciel vierge'

A new land and a new sky - as well as specimens to collect, Australia offered a new platform for observing, a new perspective on the heavens. Australian scientists took advantage of this opportunity - observatories were among the first scientific institutions to be established, and skilled observers like John Tebbutt developed international reputations. Astronomy could thereby serve as a symbol of cultural achievement and maturity, as demonstrated by the construction of the Great Melbourne Telescope. Australia has remained a major contributor to astronomical research. The Great Melbourne Telescope itself is still in service - now over 100 years old it scans the skies for evidence of dark matter.

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Prepared by Tim Sherratt (
for publication on ASAPWeb. 22 June 1997.