The renovated and extended visitors centre at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory was officially reopened at 12:00 noon on Saturday 24 March by Dr Geoff Garrett, CSIRO's new Chief Executive.
After extensive renovations, the centre is bigger and brighter than ever. A new $50 000 audio visual tells the story of the Parkes telescope, while a new 3-D 'experience' will have visitors popping on special 'specs' to head into space.
The timing of the renovation and re-opening of the centre could not have been better, since visitor numbers have trebled since the release of the film "THE DISH". This increased interest in the Observatory and its pioneering and world leading role in the science of radio astronomy, will be served well with this new centre.
With Dr. Garrett, the guests of honour at the Opening Ceremony were: actor Roy Billing, who played the Mayor of Parkes in the recent hit film, "THE DISH", Cr. Robert Wilson, the President of Parkes Shire and Jack Scoble, the Mayor of Parkes in 1969 (when the original Visitors Centre was opened).
Centre Manager Rick Twardy, said: "Parkes isn't just important in Australia, it's a telescope of world standing. Tracking space missions like Apollo is only a small part of what our telescope does. We hope the visitors centre will help people understand its role in world science."
Following the official ceremony, the new Visitors Centre was inspected by the invited guests and the general public. An inspection of the dish was also conducted by various members of the official party.
Later that evening, the visiting ATNF steering committee joined Dr. Garrett and the staff of the observatory for a highly enjoyable barbecue in the grounds of the renovated Visitors Centre.
Click on the images to see more pictures of the event
The Opening Ceremony
Inspecting the new Visitors Centre
A "Hayride" on THE DISH
Joint BBQ with the ATNF Steering Committee
Project Manager: Lindsay James (CSIRO Corporate Property)
Architect: Jim Caddaye (Collins Caddaye Architects)
Builder: Tim McCabe & Michael Shanks, Director & Supervisor (G C McCabe & Co. Pty Ltd, Parkes)
Structural Engineers: Michael Calaghan (Engineering Design Consultants Pty Ltd)
Electrical and Air Conditioning engineering designer: Wayne Henschke (John Raineri & Associates Pty Ltd)
Electrical and fire alarm systems: Shead & Nicholson
Air Conditioning: Prior and Drabsch
Landscape: Parkes Shire Council
Additional Landscape: Michael Lyndon Landscaping
Signwriting: Allen Clarke Signwriting