Mount Stromlo Observatory – Fact sheet 167

Mt. Stromolo Observatory - 1955
Mt. Stromolo Observatory - 1955 (A1200, L19718)

The Commonwealth Solar Observatory was established in 1924, on Mount Stromlo, on the outskirts of Canberra.  Founded mainly to study the sun and support research into geophysics, the complex included residences, plant and maintenance buildings as well as scientific observation and recording equipment. This fact sheet provides information on the Archives’ holdings relating to the construction and maintenance of the complex.

Records relating to Mount Stromlo Observatory

Records held by the National Archives relating to Mount Stromlo include correspondence files, photographs, and architectural plans and drawings dealing with the design, construction and maintenance of the complex. A selection of records is listed below.

Correspondence files

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
ItemMount Stromlo – Observatory buildings1925–29CP698/30, 1
ItemMount Stromlo – general file1925–28CP698/30, 1/1
ItemMount Stromlo – Director's residence1920–25CP698/30, 1/2
ItemMount Stromlo – buildings1927–28CP698/30, 1/3
ItemMount Stromlo Observatory – estimates only1927CP698/30, 1/4


Architectural plans & drawings

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
ItemDetails of senior mechanic's residence – Mt Stromlo1925A2502, AB429
ItemLayout of buildings1924A2502, AB430
ItemDetail of bronze letteringcirca 1924–30A2502, AB649
ItemLavatory – Oddie House – Mt Stromlo1929A2502, AB747
ItemSteelwork to laboratory and Sun Telescope Building1924A2502, AB835
ItemGarages, fuel stores1927A2502, AB881
ItemStromlo pump house1927A2502, AB968
ItemAdditions to staff quarters (AC1202)1926A2503, folder 6
ItemReynolds Reflector house (AC1389)1926A2503, folder 7
ItemDirector’s residence (AC1445)1927A2503, folder 7
ItemReynolds Reflector house (AC1475)1927A2503, folder 7
ItemExcavation to store building site (AC1485)1927A2503, folder 7
ItemTemporary Farnham house (AC1504)1927A2503, folder 8
ItemDetails of lab and sun telescope building (AC1548)1927A2503, folder 8
ItemSub station and Farnham telescope building (AC1554)1927A2503, folder 8
ItemDetail of workshop store and office (AC1645)1927A2503, folder 8
ItemArchitectural drawings with AG prefix1930A2506
ItemResidence ‘A’1930A2506, AG164
ItemResidence ‘H’1930A2506, AG164
ItemGroundsman’s cottage1930A2506, AG167
ItemRemodelling of the Administration building1930A2506, AG171
ItemReynolds Reflector House – details of reinforcements to concrete1930A2506, AG324
SeriesAperture cards for ACT architectural plans and drawings1921–59*A9663
ItemBingar domeundatedA9663, M1957D
ItemTiming gear detailsundatedA9663, M8381
ItemDome for 48 inch telescopeundatedA9663, 19927
ItemBuilding for cosmic raysundatedA9663, 4788
ItemVariations to additionundatedA9663, 13747
ItemOptical munitions annexeundatedA9663, 15114
ItemNew bachelor quartersundatedA9663, 19435
ItemRestoration of fire damaged buildingundatedA9663, 22028
ItemProposed dome and annexe for CATTS 20 inch telescopeundatedA9663, 23338
ItemNew ionospheric stationundatedA9663, 20866

* Most items in this series are not individually dated. The series date range provides some indication of when individual items were created.

For more information

You can obtain more information about the record series listed above (and the items within the series) from RecordSearch, the Archives database. As well as records relating to the complex and its maintenance, you should be able to identify records relating to solar and astronomical observations, and other scientific activity and research undertaken at Mount Stromlo (including the Observatory’s wartime role in optical munitions production).

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019