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Piece of clear optical glass (flint), a relic from the 2003 bush fire that destroyed the Mount Stromlo Observatory

Piece of clear optical glass (flint), a relic from the 2003 bush fire that destroyed the Mount Stromlo Observatory

Object type
Optical lenses

Object number

Piece of clear optical glass (flint), a relic from Mount Stromlo Observatory. The glass is milky on both sides and has pieces of charcoal and wire fused into it.

Collection name
Mount Stromlo Observatory collection

Collection statement of significance
The Mount Stromlo Observatory Collection consists of one molten telescope mirror; one molten optical glass (flint); one burnt auto collimator from late 1950s (above); one yellow pyrex mirror blank; one teacup with molten aluminium roof attached (above).

In early January, fires were started by lightening in Namagi National Park in the ACT. Efforts to contain the fires were unsuccessful and several fires combined on 18 January and swept into western Canberra over Mount Stromlo. In the course of that day, four lives were lost and almost five hundred homes destroyed. For the MSO the fires were devastating. All five of the Observatory's telescopes were lost as well as the 1924 heritage building, accommodating the administration staff. Only the Visitor Centre, and the Wooley and Duffield buildings (housing the academic staff and computing resources) were spared. The loss of the observatory was not only a loss to Australia's scientific community, but to the international scientific community also.


Date created
Date that it was reduced to its current derelict state by a bushfire

Mount Stromlo Observatory

Australian National University

Associated organisation
ACT Fire Brigade

Place used
Mount Stromlo, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Date of event
Canberra bush fires

Glass, Charcoal, Wire - non specific

Length: 250mm
Width: 80mm
Height: 160mm

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