Dataset

Historical Letters from Sydney Observatory

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Powerhouse Museum (Managed by)
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ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Adc&rfr_id=info%3Asid%2FANDS&rft_id=http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/category/astronomy/letters/page/46&rft.title=Historical Letters from Sydney Observatory&rft.identifier=W002&rft.publisher=Museum Metadata Exchange&rft.description=This collection comprises ten books containing 4,591 of pages of documents written primarily by the Government Astronomers who founded Sydney Observatory. These men were: William Scott (1825-1917), who held the position from 1858 to 1862; George Robarts Smalley (1822-1870), who held the position from 1864 to 1870; and Henry Chamberlain Russell (1836-1907), who held the position from 1870 to 1905.&rft.creator=Anonymous&rft.date=2017&rft.coverage=Observatory Hill, New South Wales, Australia&rft_subject=Astronomy&rft_subject=Correspondence&rft_subject=Meteorology&rft_subject=Sydney Observatory&rft_subject=George Robarts Smalley&rft_subject=Henry Chamberlain Russell&rft_subject=William Scott&rft_subject=government&rft_subject=Letters&rft.type=dataset&rft.language=English Access the data

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Some material included in this collection may be subject to copyright

Brief description

This collection comprises ten books containing 4,591 of pages of documents written primarily by the Government Astronomers who founded Sydney Observatory. These men were: William Scott (1825-1917), who held the position from 1858 to 1862; George Robarts Smalley (1822-1870), who held the position from 1864 to 1870; and Henry Chamberlain Russell (1836-1907), who held the position from 1870 to 1905.

Notes

A selection of over 300 of these letters were transcribed and posted on the Sydney Observatory Blog in 2008/2009.

Significance

The letters reveal a great deal about the beginnings of scientific enquiry in the colony of New South Wales. They demonstrate the key role the Government Astronomer held in mapping the southern sky and establishing meteorological observation stations around the colony, and organising the first triangulation and magnetic surveys – with transport of instruments by ship and dray.

There are also many routine administrative letters, such as those seeking permission to spend money on various scientific instruments, books, and other items which illustrate the kinds of instruments sought by the Observatory and the costs of items over time. Included are letters to the Smithsonian, to the Astronomer Royal, and replies to questions from the public. There is a rich vein of letters to the Colonial Architect seeking (and often tenaciously pursuing) improvements and repairs to the buildings and grounds.

Data time period: 1857 to 1902

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Spatial Coverage And Location

text: Observatory Hill, New South Wales, Australia

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