Chamber Member News – National Science Week celebrates Aboriginal Astronomy in Broken Hill

Outback Astronomy

Communities in Far West NSW are invited to participate in two upcoming National Science Week events showcasing Western and Aboriginal Astronomy in Outback NSW.

Outback Astronomy, a newly established astronomy tourism business and Member of the Broken Hill Chamber of Commerce, will conduct a workshop in Broken Hill that will culminate in a free public presentation during National Science Week. The presentation will provide workshop participants with the opportunity to demonstrate their newly acquired talents to the community.

Supported with a grant of $3,000 from Inspiring Australia and the NSW Government, the events will be held in Broken Hill during National Science Week (16-24 August 2014).

Outback Astronomy owner, Mrs Linda Nadge, said the events will clearly demonstrate how people may benefit from involvement in astronomy tourism. Special attention will be given to exploring how young people might consider science-related studies which will shape their future careers.

“Broken Hill is a mining community, with a rapidly growing Indigenous population. It has a strong visitor destination appeal. We have vast, open skies that are simply not seen in highly light polluted cities,” said Mrs Nadge.

“On top of this, we have entrepreneurial artists and creative people. There is much opportunity to combine our valuable assets and develop an enviable astronomy-tourism industry here.”

Mrs Nadge said that in future as the business develops and constructs its permanent facilities, Outback Astronomy will be seeking skilled employees with knowledge in western science and Aboriginal astronomy. She said there was tremendous economic potential for the region in astro-tourism.

“There is key interest amongst many people in Broken Hill’s mining history, past and present. It adds that enviable dimension that marries in well with astronomy, art, technology and tourism.

“When the world’s first astronomers, Aboriginal Australians, are added to this equation, we can create and deliver innovative theatre to share with visitors,” Mrs Nadge added.

Outback Astronomy has been offering astronomy sky shows at the Broken Hill Race Course since March this year. While the business plans to feature Aboriginal Astronomy as a prominent component of its astro-tourism offering, there are few people anywhere in Australia with sufficient knowledge and skills at present.

Mrs Nadge said National Science Week presents an opportunity to inspire local Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to develop the necessary skills for future employment in this area.

Outback Astronomy will partner with Regional Development Australia Far West (RDA Far West) and Robinson College to host the inaugural Broken Hill National Science Week events.

A new initiative to promote awareness of science, the Far West Science Hub, will also be launched during the presentation on 24 August 2014.

Created as a lasting entity to promote ongoing science programs the Far West Science Hub is a partnership that will help to create connections between the study of science and future careers.

RDA Far West’s manager, Mr. Michael Williams said the initiative may be of benefit to local people who are looking for guidance in future life decisions.
“We hope that the Far West Science Hub will create partnerships comprising local people and organisations who collaborate for the benefit of encouraging awareness of science,” Mr. Williams said.

Robinson College’s manager, Mrs. Ann Rogers, said the Far West Science Hub is a quality educational and informational initiative that will encourage the general public to become more familiar with the importance of science in daily life.

Mrs. Rogers said there are science hubs located across many parts of NSW and the Far West Science Hub will join this growing network to promote interest in areas like science, engineering, technology and innovation.

She said Robinson College was pleased to be among founding partners launching the Far West Science Hub and encouraged people to support its inaugural event.
With RDA Far West the key contact for the Far West Science Hub, Mr Williams said any organisations wishing to become partners should contact his office to register support. He said it was not too late for new organisations to become involved in the 2014 events.

“We welcome involvement by local scientists, local government, business organisations, schools, community and arts organisations and local clubs as well as individuals who are interested in science and related fields,” said Mr Williams.

Further information on the events can be found at The workshop will be held on Sunday, 17 August 2014, from 9am to 2pm. It will be facilitated by Mrs Nadge who will share knowledge and skills in Western and Aboriginal Astronomy. A leading expert in Aboriginal Astronomy will be consulted for the event.

Workshop participants will be invited to register their interest with RDA Far West. They must be prepared to participate in the full day workshop and be available during the following week for rehearsals at agreed times.
Their work will be featured in a public presentation at Robinson College on Sunday, 24 August, at 7pm. The general public is invited to attend free of charge.

Further information:

Mr Michael Williams – 08 8087 8383
Mrs Ann Rogers – 08 8087 6022
Mrs Linda Nadge – 0418 858 076

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