This month, we caught up with some of the amazing volunteers who run the Perth Observatory and find out what you can expect when you take a trip to the 120-year-old attraction.
About Perth Observatory
Nestled amongst the serenity of the Bickley Valley, is one of Perth’s best tourist attractions. The Perth Observatory has been charting the skies and sharing this with Perth locals and visitors for over 120 years.
What many people don’t know is that the Observatory is run completely by volunteers and this incredible group of people is taking the Observatory to new heights.
The 100-strong group of volunteers works tirelessly to maintain, run and fund in the background, whilst running tours, documenting the heritage and sharing their love of the stars with the many people who visit the Observatory every week.
Meet some of the team
We caught up with the main team at the Observatory to let you in behind the scenes and into the reasons they became volunteers in the first place.
Matt – the man behind the tweets
You probably already know Matt if you follow the Perth Observatory on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Matt is the man behind the marketing and telling the world about what they can see at the Observatory. Matt also does many of the night-sky tours so if you head up there for a tour, you will get to meet Matt and hear about his passion in person.
Matt had never picked up a telescope before he applied to be a volunteer a few years ago, but always remembers standing in his back yard with his Dad in ‘94 watching the space shuttle Columbia fly over WA. It was from that moment he was hooked on space! Now, he loves nothing more than sharing his knowledge with visitors on the tours and via social media.
‘Indiana’ Paul Jones
Paul managed the Observatory for a very short time when it was still owned and run by the State Government. He enjoyed it so much; when he retired he stayed on as a volunteer! Paul is now heading up a team cataloguing the colossal amount of heritage artifacts owned by the Observatory. As part of any tour, you get to visit the museum and see the collection of historical instruments, meteorites and astrographs and best of all hear from the team who are bringing all this back to life.
In addition to all the astronomy artifacts, the Observatory used to be the place for the state’s weather forecasting and seismology. The collection includes barometers, seismographs and chronographs (recording the time) and everything has been kept.
Paul has been auditing all this amazing history for over 6 years now and is proud to be part of the team documenting the state’s history for future generations.
21 years ago, Bevan answered the call for anyone who had ‘stars in their eyes’ to come volunteer at the Observatory. Becoming Treasurer 14 years ago, he is now ‘life and soul’ and the man drawing together funding to keep the Observatory open and running for everyone to enjoy.
From an early age, Bevan loved looking at the stars and he still gets a ‘brilliant joy from showing people’s what up there’.
He’s currently training up 30 new volunteers, but is always on the look out for more. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer you can read more information here and get in line for the next intake in January.
Don’t miss out
Even if you can’t spare time to be a volunteer, don’t worry you can support the team by becoming a member and sharing the experience with your friends and family by booking them a tour or purchasing a gift voucher.
You never know, this could be what sparks a new love of astronomy and a passion, which exudes from everyone you meet at the Perth Observatory.
Visit the Perth Observatory website to book your tour or more information.
Need help planning your trip? To the Perth Observatory or the Perth Hills region, why not drop into the Perth Hills Visitor Centre, 50 Railway Road in Kalamunda or call our friendly staff on 08 9257 9998.