Modern History

With the observatory in a state of disuse, Monash University began negotiations in 2010 to decommission it. Initially the Astronomical Society of Victoria (ASV) was approached to take over the lease but the ASV declined. So it was that in June 2011 four senior members of the ASV (Ken Beard, Barry Cleland, Ray Schmidt and Perry Vlahos) and former professional astronomer James Murray formed the incorporated association Mt Burnett Observatory inc. with the intention of saving the Observatory. Several months of negotiations followed, but on December 1st 2011, a new lease was signed and Mt Burnett Observatory began a new life as a community astronomical observatory.


The Monash Observatory at Mt Burnett (approx 40 km east of Melbourne) was established in the early 1970's by Monash University. Originally overseen by the Science Faculty, it soon became a field station of the Physics Department, and has been operated and maintained by Departmental staff (academic and technical) and research students. Multicolour photoelectric photometry of selected southern variable stars has been carried out since the mid-1970's, using single channel instruments. The observatory is a small installation, both in terms of instrumentation and staff numbers. However, a variety of work has been undertaken. In the specific area of long term photometric studies of a small number of stars the work of the Observatory has been well received both nationally and internationally. The Observatory has also been used in the astronomy teaching programs of the Physics Department.