Old Perth Observatory – Havelock Street (not Gingin!)


Dumas House – Western Australia government office block built in the 1960’s on the site of Perth’s first Government Observatory, currently being renovated so lots of scaffolding on one side. It sits at the top of Mount Eliza overlooking the city and consequently was cold and windy when we were sketching !



20160906-old-perth-observatory-photoAbove is one of the entrances to the remaining building built in 1896- Old Perth Observatory – Government Astronomer’s Residence (currently the home of the National Trust of Western Australia). Red brick with ornate plaster work and a rounded roof section on one side. The Government Astronomer had 2 important roles in addition to star gazing and weather forecasting……aiding with time keeping for the early Perth settlement – sundials were generally used to mark time but could be inaccurate by over 20 minutes. Therefor the Government Astronomer fired a cannon at exactly 1.00 pm everyday so that people could set their watches and clocks. Also having prime position over the city mean that he kept an eye out for bush fires which being so close to Kings Park were fairly frequent.


2 thoughts on “Old Perth Observatory – Havelock Street (not Gingin!)

  1. another stunner post !
    just trying to imagine the sound of the cannon.
    it is fun discovering the history of Perth & WA, and finding it isn’t that easy.
    one thing I have noticed is that physically visiting places and reading the signs seems to tell us things that are unique.
    I don’t know your name, but nice work.
    take care, Andrew.


    1. Thanks Andrew 🙂
      ….yes I too was trying to imagine the cannon going off at 1 o’clock each day in the old city….horses and carts down a low level St Georges Terrace….a very different life!
      Sometimes the facts are easy to find, sometimes a bit of digging required but always a story revealed.
      That’s the joy of urban sketching…. discovering and examining your own city from street level…..


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