A Passion for the Cosmos: The Genteel Astronomers of MosmanMosman Library Service

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A Passion for the Cosmos: The Genteel Astronomers of Mosman

In 1895 the NSW B ranch of the British Astronomical Society was formed to promote the study of the night sky with members including locals John Macdonnell and E. H Beattie. Join the presenters for an insightful look into the role of these astronomers and the importance of their discoveries, followed by a clear evening's Telescope viewing. Presented by Sydney Observatory Curator of Astronomy, Dr Andrew Jacob, with Dr Toner Stevenson and Elizabeth Cocking of Sydney City Skywatchers.

In 1895 a passionate group of amateur astronomers, including John Tebbutt, formed the NSW B ranch of the British Astronomical Society. Tebbutt, the Society’s first President and 61 men and women, from all over Sydney, were nominated as members. With a view to sharing and supporting each other the Society flourished.

Members included Mosman residents, John and Emily Macdonnell whose ‘Gardenol Observatory’ was in the backyard of their house in Shadforth Street. In 1906, Secretary of the Society, Ernest H. Beattie owed Madonnell’s Grubb Telescope installing it in his ‘West Point Observatory’, Mosman.
In 2021 their famous Grubb Telescope, now in the National Museum of Australia, was one of 18 items selected by Slava and Leonard Grigoryan as the subject of a new composition Southern Sky.

Join the presenters for a wonderful and insightful look into the importance of those referred to as amateur astronomers and their lasting legacy.

The evening will conclude with a Telescope viewing guided by Ann Cairns, President, Sydney City Skywatchers (weather depending).

Event date

Event Details

605 Military Road, Mosman, New South Wales

Barry O’Keefe Library (Mosman Library Service)


7pm - 8pm

Entry fees:
Prebooking requiredhttps://events.mosman.nsw.gov.au/
Attendance limit:
Less than 50