Photographic print, William John Macdonnell's 18 inch transit telescope made by Clark, paper / albumen / silver, used by Sydney Observatory, Port Macquarie, 1880-1900
A black and white photograph of an 18 inch transit instrument made by Clark. The photograph was taken in C J Merfield's transit room. A clock can be seen in the background along with several books on a shelf. The photograph is mounted on a card.
Handwritten text on the front of the card '18" Clark's Transit Instrument' and on the back of the card in red ink 'Clark's Transit Instrument / 18 inch - [Cg] 1 3/4 in [cap]'. In pencil on the back of the card '1/102'.
This photograph appears to be of William John Macdonnell's 18 inch telescope housed in his private observatory at Port Macquarie. Also visible in the picture are a regulator clock and several volumes of books.
Macdonnell managed the Bank of New South Wales at Port Macquarie branch and he set up this private observatory there sometime in the 1880s. The Powerhouse museum also holds images of the same observatory from a later period when it may have been run by C. J. Merfield another keen amateur astronomer (see P3549-167 and P3549-168). Another copy of this photograph is in an album held by the Port Macquarie Historical Museum, called the 'Morton Album' which were thought to have been taken around 1884.
Macdonnell was one of four amateur astronomers invited by H.C. Russell to take part in the 1874 Transit of Venus and his portrait appears in H.C. Russell's 1892 publication 'Observations of the Transit of Venus, 9 December, 1874; made at Stations in New South Wales' and on the glass plate composite negative used to make the frontispiece to this book.
Macdonnell was a member of the Astronomical Section of the Royal Society of New South Wales from its inception in 1876 and was a member of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1873 until the 1890s.
Chant, C. A., The Astronomical Society of Victoria, Bulletin number 40
Haynes, Raymond, Haynes, Roslynn, Malin, David, McGee, Richard, Explorers of the Southern Sky, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996
Email correspondence, Rosyln Russell, National Museum of Australia referring to the Morton Album held by the Port Macquarie Historical Museum, March 2009
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