On foundation, the Society became the custodian of three historic telescopes, reclaimed another historic telescope and has added a modern instrument along with various portable units.
The Baker Great Equatorial Telescope
This 65cm (26-inch) Newtonian reflector was at one time the largest Newtonian reflector telescope outside of Mount Stromlo. The Great Equatorial was built at the Observatory in 1886 by Captain Henry Baker.
The Oddie Telescope
A 20cm (8-inch) Newtonian, dating from 1909.
The Jelbart Telescope
A 12.5cm (5-inch) brass refractor with a 187.5cm (75-inch) focal length, the Jelbart was donated in 1918.
The Federation Telescope
A 410 mm reflecting telescope with classical Cassegrain configuration, and has an effective focal length of 6.6 meters. The inclusion of two additional optical flat mirrors mounted at the intersection of the axes of rotation of the mounting provides for a stationary eyepiece. This feature and its ground level siting means that anyone, including the elderly and wheel-chair users, can easily and comfortably observe the wonders of the cosmos.
Telescope with designer Barry Adcock (ASV, BAS), who led a team in its construction.
The Federation Telescope project was made possible by a Commonwealth Federation Community Projects Program Grant, together with widespread and strong support from BAS volunteers and the Ballarat Community.
This 35cm (14-inch) telescope was acquired by the Society in 1979
In May 1998, the Society completed a 31.5cm (12.5-inch) Newtonian reflector, which was left unfinished by Ian Thompson. As well as his passion for Astronomy and the Ballaarat Observatory, Ian was a keen supporter of the Collingwood Football Club – the telescope has been finished in Collingwood’s “Black and White.”
In 1997, a 25cm (10-inch) portable reflector was donated to the Society by the parents of the late Ian Thompson, a hard-working and dedicated Society member for 28 years.
Suitably qualified members may operate any of these instruments.
In addition, the Society has portable telescopes which may be borrowed by members for a month at a time, for use at home.