Posted by Brian Simpson
On Tuesday 28 July our club visited Perth Observatory.  We had 10 members and 5 partners in attendance, as well as several Rotaractors as well as some other visitors. 
We were greeted by a lovely Subway spread which we thoroughly enjoyed – thank you to Krys for organising our meal.
After our meal we adjourned to the main room where we were welcomed by volunteer Diana.  Diana thanked Rotary for helping the Observatory get their Lotterywest grant.  We were then treated to a short documentary which featured the artwork in the dome as well as several Aboriginal people talking about their own stories as well as some of the stories featured in the artwork.  It was superb!  I would urge any who missed it to watch it if you can.  The project is called Worl Wangkiny. 
We then had a short talk about the sky stories.  Indigenous Australians are often credited with being the world’s first astronomers. Observing and interpreting the cosmos is a significant part of most language groups and has been used for navigation, calendars, ceremony, cultural lore, song-lines and art for thousands of years. Indigenous astronomy is an important part of this country’s history and sharing those stories and understandings of the night sky enriches all Australian cultures.  The Rotary club has contributed to the training of indigenous guides who will conduct tours with specialist knowledge.
Following this we walked to the dome.  But there was a surprise.  Just outside the dome was a campfire.  We sat around the campfire and were treated to songs by a local indigenous man.  He told stories around them, and wove a wonderful atmosphere.
Then into the dome.  The artwork was just beautiful and told stories related to the astronomy developed by the local Aboriginal people over thousands of years.  The paving was done by Rotaractor Josh Crisp and it too was amazing.  He even built in a Rotary sign.
It was a lovely evening and we can be very proud of our club’s involvement in the Perth Observatory.
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