Australian Heritage Festival – The Dark Sky Renaissance: Astronomical Heritage

The stars serve humanity as a source of awe, wonder, and science. Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures have long used the stars to navigate, develop calendars, and understand our origins. Yet rban expansion is threatening our collective heritage with space and gradually washing away the stars in the sky, including those of the Southern Cross.

The National Trust’s Dark Sky Renaissance event, co-presented by Australian Indigenous Astronomy and the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), will feature a talk by astronomer Dr Duane Hamacher, Gomeroi astrophysics student Krystal de Napoli, and Gunnai custodian Uncle Wayne Thorpe as they discuss how urban design impacts our connection to the sky, and how we can implement strategies to improve this. They will also discuss an innovative project between Mount Burnett Observatory and the industrial lighting company WE-EF to find solutions that help us preserve our dark skies and connection to the stars while still sharing in the beauty, security, and benefits of light.

Light refreshments and the lecture will be held in the Stables at Rippon Lea Estate. Following the talk guests will be invited to participate in stargazing through Mount Burnett Observatory’s telescopes on the Cedar Lawn, weather permitting.

Speakers:

Dr Duane Hamacher is an astronomer and academic studying the important connections between space, heritage, and society.

Krystal de Napoli is a Gomeroi woman, public speaker, and astrophysics student at Monash University.

Uncle Wayne Thorpe is a Gunnai custodian, craftsman, linguist, and educator (MEd).

Participating organisations:

Australian Indigenous Astronomy was established to explore the many aspects of Indigenous Astronomy in Australia, including how Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities perceive various types of astronomical phenomena and how elders read the stars. On the Australian Indigenous Astronomy website you can find educational curricula, information about degree programs, watch videos of animations, dances, and songs related to the stars and learn about the generation of Aboriginal students studying astrophysics who are becoming voices of this work.

Mount Burnett Observatory Inc. is a not-for-profit astronomical society based at Mount Burnett in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. The Observatory was originally built in 1972 by Monash University. In 2011 the site was formally taken over by the current operators and it now has a new life as a community observatory. The aim of MBO is to preserve the facility and to use it to promote astronomy and science to the communities in the Dandenongs.

WE-EF is a global manufacturer of high-performance exterior luminaires known for engineering design and innovative optical systems.

Pricing

Adult: $60
National Trust member: $55

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Planning your visit

Address:

192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick 3185 VIC

Open:

May to August 10am – 4pm (last entry 3.30pm)
September to April 10am – 5pm (last entry 4.30pm)
Visit ripponleaestate.com.au for details.
Guided house tours are subject to volunteer availability and run half hourly from 10.30am to 3.00pm.
Garden tours run on select days at 11am and 2pm.

Closed:

Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Phone:
Bookings Office (03) 9656 9889 Mon-Fri, 9am to 5pm.
Email:
[email protected]
Website:
http://www.ripponleaestate.com.au
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