The Molonglo Radio Telescope – a science, heritage and education partnership

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The Molonglo Radio Telescope near Hoskinstown in New South Wales is both heritage and a working research instrument. A large cross-shaped array designed by prominent Australian radio astronomer Bernard Mills, the telescope has been a test bed for new technology and ground-breaking science for over 50 years and is currently being used to study Fast Radio Bursts. The advent of remote data acquisition, however, has reduced the number of people visiting and forming personal connections with the instrument, leading to perceptions that it is ageing and unfashionable, and making it vulnerable to decommissioning and disposal. To make this significant piece of heritage sustainable it is necessary to ensure that more people are aware of it and feel that they value it and are connected to it. This should not be limited to scientists, but should include the general public and especially the local communities, for whom it can be a source of inspiration and opportunity.
This paper looks at a project undertaken to explore ways to generate public interaction with the telescope, drawing not just on its astronomical significance but on the stories of social, political and technological changes reflected in its history; embodied experiences of the site; interest in the mechanical design; interest in the on-site animal communities; and creative responses to site experiences. These activities allow people to find bridging values to connect their existing lives and interests with the sometimes unfamiliar world of professional science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Australia ICOMOS Science Heritage Symposium
Subtitle of host publicationUnder the Microscope – Exploring Science Heritage, Hobart, Tasmania, 12 th November 2018
EditorsAnne McConnell
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralia ICOMOS
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAustralia ICOMOS Science Heritage Symposium: Under the Microscope – Exploring Science Heritage - Hobart, Hobart, Australia
Duration: 12 Nov 201812 Nov 2018

Publication series

NameAustralia ICOMOS: Heritage, sustainability and social justice
PublisherAustralia ICOMOS
ISSN (Print)0726-6715


OtherAustralia ICOMOS Science Heritage Symposium


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