Mt Stromlo Sunday 19th January 2003

The fires of January 18, 2003, destroyed almost all of the historic telescopes and buildings of the Australian National University's Mt Stromlo Observatory. \

Five houses were also lost, including the Director's Residence, a heritage-listed example of early ACT government architecture.

The old Commonwealth Solar Observatory building was also destroyed, this heritage-listed building housed the administration offices, mechanical design office, and library of the Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories. All books, record files and photographic archives were lost.

Remains of the 50inch Telescope

With a measure of poetic irony, the destruction of an historic telescope by firestorm lends something to the Big Bang astronomical theory when the exploding dome created a field of glittering metal fragments akin to the stars of the Milky Way.

Photograph © Jeff Cutting

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Last updated 4 November 2014