Melbourne Observatory had a long wait for an “official” opening – 150 years, to be precise. After a decade of astronomical operations, the Williamstown Observatory was closed and a transfer of equipment took place in 1863 to grand new facilities on land excised from the Government House reserve, adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Having achieved an adequate degree of documentation of the GMT parts, we have developed more than 40 written proposals for engineering work on some of the parts, and on a frame to hold the entire telescope.
We are pleased to report that the Copland Foundation has pledged support of $70,000 to the Great Melbourne Telescope Restoration project.
We also have generous offers of support in kind from engineering companies, including Marand Precision Engineering, Pizzey Engineering and United Service Technologies.
The ASV team is very proud to report that we have come through the “hard yards” of Stage 1 of the GMT Restoration Project (dismantling, drawing and cataloguing), and we are now comfortably progressing into the “sweeter metres” of Stage 2 (design and construction).
With slow but steady progress; we are now at workshop #125. We have catalogued all the GMT parts, cleaned them, understood them, and are halfway through photographing, describing and documenting them; so far about 500 pages of optical, mechanical and electrical engineering plans have been drafted. Some broken castings have also been repaired.
The Governor of Victoria, Professor David de Kretser, has agreed to join the advisory group for the project. Professor de Kretser is one of several community leaders, educators and astronomers who have expressed enthusiasm for the project. We are very grateful for their support and advice. See the full list.
The restoration team is making great advances in cleaning and describing the hundreds of parts of the telescope. They are undertaking the arduous task of removing layers of paint, preparing detailed technical drawings, and undertaking crack testing of critical parts.