Sunday, December 9, 2012

Night Sky Dreaming - An Indigenous Astronomy Tour

Discover the wonders of Indigenous Astronomy on a 9 day tour with CSIRO astrophysicist Ray Norris and well-respected Astronomer Fred Watson.

Image by Renee Nowytarger.

Event Type:
Special event
18 March 2013 to 26 March 2013
$3280 per person twin share (Single supplement:$450)

About the trip

Join CSIRO astrophysicist Ray Norris and well-respected Astronomer Fred Watson on a 9 day tour through areas of Aboriginal astronomical interest. Meeting in Melbourne, you will then journey to Mildura and enjoy a cruise on the Murray River by Paddle Steamer, discover the histories and walking tracks of the Mungo National Park, enjoy a stop-over in Menindee, before taking some time to explore Kinchega National Park’s abundant bird and wildlife and this is just the beginning.

For the second half of the trip you will head to the character filled opal-mining town of White Cliffs, before entering Mutawintji National Park’s Historic Site where you will embark on an interpretive bush walk, followed by a day spent exploring the Sculpture Symposium and the Royal Flying Doctors, before visiting Coonabarabran - the home of Australia’s largest optical telescope.
Finishing in Sydney, the tour includes comfortable country accommodation, the majority of meals and entry fees as noted on the itinerary. Come along and discover the wonders of Indigenous astronomy and enjoy a little of your own night sky dreaming.

About your leaders

Dr Ray Norris is an Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University and studies the astronomy of Aboriginal Australians. Ray is an astrophysicist at CSIRO Astronomy & Space Science (CASS).  He received an Honours Degree in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University and a PhD from Manchester University.
Fred Watson is Astronomer-in-Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory at Coonabarabran, and is well known for his astronomy slots on ABC radio, and on Network Ten’s ‘The Project’. His books include “Stargazer - the Life and Times of the Telescope”, and “Why is Uranus Upside Down?”. In January 2010, Fred was awarded Member of the Order of Australia for service to astronomy, particularly the promotion and popularisation of space science through public outreach.

Trip Highlights

  • An after dinner talk by Ray Norris
  • A cruise on the Murray River by Paddle Steamer
  • A tour of the ‘Walls of China’ lunette system with Indigenous guide Harry Nanya
  • A river cruise on the Menindee Lakes
  • Exploring Kinchega National Park’s abundant bird and wildlife
  • Discovering Mutawintji National Park’s Historic Site
  • Visiting the Sculpture Symposium and the Royal Flying Doctors
  • A special dinner with a local, NASA-employed, amateur astronomer Trevor Barry
  • Visiting Siding Spring Observatory and the UK Schmidt Telescope

What’s included

  • Special guest astronomers Ray Norris and Fred Watson
  • Professional Tour Director
  • 9 nights, comfortable country accommodation
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners as per itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Entrance fees as note on the itinerary
  • Private air-conditioned coach
  • Australian Museum tour host

How to book

Please download your copy of the itinerary.
To secure your place, please email your intention to join us with the completed booking form to or write to:
Fred Watson Tours
PO Box 973
Newport NSW 2106
Your option is held for seven days secured by receipt of a non-refundable deposit. Reservations are confirmed with a $300 deposit with final payment due prior to 18 January 2013.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rare Aboriginal Rock Art Under Threat

On Thursday, 30 November 2012, the 7.30 show on ABC featured a piece about threats to Aboriginal rock art, especially in the Sydney region.  With damage by developers and tourists, Aboriginal sites are being damaged and destroyed at a crippling rate.  The following clip features Duane Hamacher of the Aboriginal Astronomy Project at UNSW showing damage that has recently been done to rock art in Kuringai Chase National Park, home of the famous Emu in the Sky engraving.


Click here to watch the episode.

Special thanks to Greg Miskelly, the Senior Producer for the NSW 7.30 show.