Jandangga 2023 Bec’s Blog

Not long after our last newsletter went out, the Shire held its inaugural Ancient Lands Under Brilliant Skies festival.

Man stands in front of an audience gesturing.

Chris answers visitors’ questions about our observatory at the festival. Credit: CSIRO

While it was a shame we couldn’t take visitors out to Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, our Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory on account of the river crossing being impassable, the festival was fantastic and I offer my sincere congratulations to the organisers and volunteers, as well as everyone who, ran a stall, cooked some food, blew a trumpet, or otherwise helped out. It really showed what the Murchison has to offer, and the creativity and talents of those who live in the region. I caught the festival on an episode of DestinationWA. It was lovely to see our friends and community being spotlighted this way.

An ASKAP domino!

Our scientists, engineers, project managers and education staff really enjoyed the chance to spend time at the Settlement and answer astronomy-related questions. I look forward to next year’s event, with potentially more forgiving weather in the lead up.

More recently, we had some of our team at the Museum of Geraldton during the astronomy-themed school holidays. There were a lot of great questions and some children even recognising an ASKAP domino (a small electronic component that sits inside the receiver, pictured right). We’ve plenty of engineers in the making in the Mid West!

The Museum’s choice of an astronomy theme aligned with their showing of the virtual reality film, Beyond the Milky Way, which is bringing the beauty of Wajarri Yamaji country to audiences all over the world. The film is currently showing in the UK and will soon be heading to Kalgoorlie and Albany.

Rachel and Brett discuss astronomy engineering and science with visitors at the Museum of Geraldton. Credit: Museum of Geraldton

In staffing news, we welcome Kerry Ardern over to Western Australia for a longer than normal visit. Some of you know Kerry from his ongoing involvement with the Observatory over many years.  Kerry has made the temporary shift to WA for the next little while to support us while we grow the Site Entity team.

In saying that, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Geoff King for all his incredible work with us. Geoff’s dedication and attentiveness to his work to his work on and around the Observatory will be hard to replace, and we wish him and his family well on his new adventure.

We would like to welcome Rob Rice to the team!  Rob is based out of Geraldton and will be working as our ILUA Officer.  Rob’s skills and experience are certainly going to make him a valuable addition to the team.

Finally, I would like to make special mention of Kurt Warhurst, who took up the opportunity to take a three-month secondment to the Site Entity team from the ASKAP Operations Team.  Kurt came in at the critical time and got stuck straight into helping the team out.  Thank you Kurt, for all your help.

I hope you are all doing well! You may notice new signs going up and some more trucks on the road as we continue on this journey to the SKA. It certainly is an exciting time to be in the Murchison, and I look forward to being able to share it with you.

Until next time,


Rebecca Wheadon, Site Entity Lead
Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory