MAS History

Patrons of Macarthur Astronomical Society 

Patron 1996 - 2011.

 

Patron since 2009

 

Dr. Ragbir Bhathal
Western Sydney University
Australia

 

Professor Bryan Gaensler
University of Toronto,
Canada

 

Presidents Of Macarthur Astronomical Society

 
Phillip Ainsworth
Founding President
1996-2000
 
Noel Sharpe 
Second President
2000-2007

John Rombi
Third President
2007-2011

 

Trevor Rhodes
Fourth President
2011-2012

 

 

 

Chris Malikoff
Fifth President
2012-2015

 

Tony Law
Sixth President
2015-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awards

Excellence in Partnership

 

Guinness World Records

   

"Outstanding Community Engagement Partnership".November 2014.

The outreach work of the Society was recognised by Western Sydney University (then known as UWS) with the "Excellence in Partnership Award for 2014".

 

The world record holder for the most people stargazing at multiple venues is now Australia, with 7,960 participants on 21st  August 2015. This was organised by ANU across 37 locations in Australia.

MAS participated in this achievement with our own event at The Oaks. 

History 

Formation

Macarthur Astronomical Society was formed on Monday 15th January 1996 under the leadership of Phillip Ainsworth.

Phillip was a resident of Ingleburn at the time and - recognising the lack of an organised astronomical Society in South Western Sydney - he decided to do something about it. He publicised a proposal to form a new astronomical organisation in the Campbelltown newspapers and invited anyone interested in amateur astronomy to attend a meeting at his home.

* * *

This initial meeting was held in Phillip's garage due to the large attendance. The neighbours must have wondered what what was going on when over thirty people tried to park in his quiet back street. Phillip, his wife and family were surprised at the number who turned up as well but it backed his belief that the formation of a society of like-minded amateur astronomers was indeed feasible. It was a hot summer evening. Some stood, whilst others sat in as many chairs as the Ainsworth family could muster and it was moved and carried that Macarthur Astronomical Society be formed. 

The second meeting (the first AGM) was held in February 1996, at the University of Western Sydney. Phillip was elected President and he went on to hold the position from 1996 to 2000, guiding the fledgling Society through it's formative years, establishing it's constitution and promoting it in the community. All subsequent monthly meetings were held at the University of Western Sydney (except for September 2011, held at Blair Athol Community Centre).

1990s

Very few of the early members possessed telescopes but this began to change as regular star nights were held in member's back yards, including a member's property near Wilton. A club telescope was purchased in June 1997, a 6” Dobsonian, assisted by a generous donation of $500.00 from the Campbelltown Branch of the Commonwealth Bank. This scope soon became known as “MacDob”. Later, two permanent homes were found for regular star nights, including the Forest with it's spectacular dark skies.

The Society commenced community educational talks and regular public star nights, all free of entry fee to the public.

Several of the members who joined in 1996 remain current members, including two who were at that inaugural meeting (Phil. Ainsworth & Roger Powell) and several more who joined immediately after. 

 

2000s

In 2000, Phillip Ainsworth stood down from the Presidency and later moved away from the district. He was awarded honorary membership in recognition of his role in founding the Society and guiding it through it's early years. Vice-President Noel Sharpe was elected to succeed Phillip as President and continued to lead the Society until 2007 when John Rombi took charge. 

All MAS Presidents have promoted a friendly and informal club atmosphere and the Society has attracted an impressive list of talented monthly guest speakers, including distinguished professional astronomers and specialised amateurs. 

During the second half of the decade, the Society introduced its own website and also began 'branding' its activities, introducing a new MAS logo in 2008; followed by the 'Magnitude' brand for DVD's and Exhibitions.  Membership awards were instigated in 2007. (See Awards Page).

Merchandising activities were increased and the position of Merchandise Officer was created in 2008 to manage purchasing and sales activities, including books, mugs, star wheels etc. Stewart Grainger was the first (and so far only) Merchandise Officer.

2010s

In February 2011, the General Monthly Meetings were rebranded as the "Macarthur Astronomy Forum" (also with its own logo). Professor Fred Watson AO was the inaugural guest speaker on that occasion.

Trevor Rhodes  took over the Presidency in 2011 and in June 2012, a 'milestone' decision was made by the Management Committee:

"That this committee aspires to achieve the financial growth and scientific excellence that will empower the future acquisition of advanced astronomical equipment and the property in which to house it. To achieve this we resolve to increase our membership programme; improve our practical expertise; and institute a fund raising programme, whilst still giving value for money to our members and continuing with our outreach programme."

The Society sought to strengthen its ties with Campbelltown, Camden & Wollondilly local Councils; local MPs; local media; and began the difficult task of seeking advertisers and sponsorships. It also began a series of fundraising barbecues at Bunnings (Narrellan) and organising Macastro-tours to observatories both in Australia and overseas.

Chris Malikoff  became President in 2012 and a sub-committee was formed to investigate potential observatory locations; select a suitable site; and pursue authority approval to gain access to it. A suitable site was selected at Dharawal National Park and the sub-committee set about the task of seeking support from the community and approval from relevant authorities.

The Society's printed monthly journal, which had been produced every month since 1996, ceased publication after the October 2012 edition.

The Society maintained a good working relationship with the University of Western Sydney (UWS), which became known as Western Sydney University (WSU) from 2015. In November 2014, the outreach work of the Society was recognised by the University with the "Excellence in Partnership Award for 2014".

Tony Law was elected President in 2015 and public observing nights were resumed at the Campbelltown Rotary Observatory following its recommissioning after being closed from 2013 during its relocation. 

On 21st August 2015, we collaborated with the Australian National University and thirty-five other organisations to break the World Record for the most people "stargazing" at multiple venues at the same time, with 7,960 participants across Australia. MAS participated in this achievement with our own event at The Oaks. 

In December 2015, the inaugural Students Night was held at the Macarthur Astronomy Forum. Two high school students were invited to make a presentation. They were Ms Vina Hing & Ms Linh Thuy Nguyen (Prairiewood H.S.), who had jointly researched the light curves of eclipsing binary stars. The Committee resolved that student presentations would become a regular December feature at the Forum.

Regular public nights were resumed at Campbelltown Rotary Observatory in December 2015, following the renamed Campbelltown Rotary Observatory relocation at Macarthur Heights. 

In February 2016 a twentieth birthday party was held before the regular Forum, attended by members, former guest speakers, the Federal MPs for Werriwa & Macarthur and other friends of the Society.In April 2016, seven members toured telescope facilities in Chile. 

Recognition

Australian Parliament

Russell Matheson MP (Werriwa)

   NSW State Parliament

  
Chris Paterson MP (Camden)   Jai Rowell MP (Wollondilly)

         

rp

Management Committee Members Of The Society

Date 

President

Vice-President

Secretary

Treasurer

Committee Members

Feb. 1996

Phillip Ainsworth

John Lodge

Sally Jackson

Robbie Charlton

Diana Farmer, Bob Bee

May 1996

Phillip Ainsworth

Noel Sharpe

David McBean

Robbie Charlton

Diana Farmer, Bob Bee

Mar. 1997

Phillip Ainsworth

Noel Sharpe

David McBean

Robbie Charlton

Karen Bates, Peter Druery, Bob Bee

June 1997

Phillip Ainsworth

Noel Sharpe

David McBean

Eric Brown

Karen Bates, Peter Druery, Bob Bee

Aug. 1998

Phillip Ainsworth

Noel Sharpe

David McBean

Noel Sharpe

Karen Bates, Peter Druery, Bob Bee

April 1999

Phillip Ainsworth

Noel Sharpe

Daniel Ross

Peter Elston

Bobbie Elston, Peter Druery, Bob Bee

April 2000

Noel Sharpe

Daniel Ross

Phil Ainsworth

John Koster

John Rombi, Peter Druery, Bobbie Elston, Peter Elston, Bob Bee

April 2001

Noel Sharpe

John Rombi

Ian Cook

John Koster

Daniel Ross, Phil Ainsworth, Bob Bee

April 2002

Noel Sharpe

John Rombi

Ian Cook

John Koster

Lloyd Wright, Bob Bee

April 2003

Noel Sharpe

John Rombi

Ian Cook

Dick Everett

Lloyd Wright, Bob Bee

April 2004

Noel Sharpe

John Rombi

Ian Cook

Dick Everett

Lloyd Wright, Daniel Ross, Bob Bee

April 2005

Noel Sharpe

John Rombi

Ian Cook

Dick Everett

Lloyd Wright, Daniel Ross, Bob Bee

April 2006

Noel Sharpe

John Rombi

Ian Cook

Dick Everett

Lloyd Wright, Daniel Ross, Bob Bee

April 2007

John Rombi

Martin Ferlito

Bob Bee

Dick Everett

Lloyd Wright, Daniel Ross, 

April 2008

John Rombi

Daniel Ross

Roger Powell

Dick Everett

Lloyd Wright, Ivan Fox, Stewart Grainger

April 2009

John Rombi

Trevor Rhodes

Roger Powell

Tony Law

Lloyd Wright, Ivan Fox, Stewart Grainger

April 2010

John Rombi

Trevor Rhodes

Roger Powell

Tony Law

Lloyd Wright, Stewart Grainger, Carol McVeigh

April 2011

Trevor Rhodes

Chris Malikoff

Roger Powell

Tony Law

Lloyd Wright, Stewart Grainger, Carol McVeigh

April 2012

Chris Malikoff

Tony Law

Nicole Ireland to Nov, then 
T. Law & M. Nicholas

Barry Moore

Lloyd Wright, Stewart Grainger, Henry Swierk

April 2013

Chris Malikoff

Tony Law

Jack Goralewski

Barry Moore

Stewart Grainger, Henry Swierk, Penny Reid

April 2014

Chris Malikoff

Tony Law

Jack Goralewski

Richard Curley

Stewart Grainger, Henry Swierk, Mike Nicholas

April 2015 Tony Law Stewart Grainger Jack Goralewski Richard Curley Henry Swierk, Mike Nicholas, Carol McVeigh
May 2016 Tony Law Stewart Grainger Jack Goralewski Richard Curley Henry Swierk, Mike Nicholas, Carol McVeigh
April 2017          

 

Webmasters

FROM TO NAME
2007c 2008 Martin Ferlito
2008 20xx Chris Malikoff
     


Prime Focus Magazine Editors

FROM TO NAME
1996 2007 Robert Bee
2007 2009 Kate Ross
2009 2011 Geoff Young
2011 2012 Chris Malikoff

After more than fifteen years of continuous monthly publication, Prime Focus magazine ceased appearing following the October 2012 issue.

Honorary Members of Macarthur Astronomical Society

MAS No NAME COMMENT DATE
001 Mr. Phillip Ainsworth Founding President of MAS. c2000
007 Dr. Ragbir Bhathal Western Sydney University and former Patron of MAS. c1996
183 Professor Bryan Gaensler University of Toronto, Canada and current Patron of MAS.  2009
024 Ms Ursula Braatz Exemplary membership over an extended period 2016
109 Mr. Davy Jones Exemplary membership over an extended period 2017

Honour Roll

Remembering the friendship and enthusiasm for astronomy of fellow members of the Society who are regrettably no longer with us.

MAS No NAME JOINED MAS DEPARTED
040 Robert Zindler 21st August 2000 2013
113 Stuart Cant 18th September 2006 2014
148 Steve Nicoara 17th November 2008 2015

 

 

 

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