Early Ballarat History of Astronomy and Science

The Ballarat Field Club and Science Society was formed in 1882 with James Oddie as the first President and Henry Sutton as a founding member. The topics of the meetings included geology, zoology, botany, astronomy, chemistry, microscopial observations and electricity. At the AGM in 1883 , discussion was held on the subject of procuring, as soon as possible, a high class telescope for astronomical observations. Up until this time there were only three telescopes in Ballarat. One had been recently purchased by ” The Ballarat Boy’s Astronomical Telescope Company” for use by young students in the new Astronomy classes at the School of mines. The second telescope was owned by Mr John Wells and the third was owned by Henry Sutton. All were excellent telescopes but not adequate enough for the long term study of astronomy.

In March 1883 Oddie became aware of a powerful telescope for sale in Melbourne. A favourable offer for the telescope had been made to Oddie from the Government Astronomer Ellery.

Henry Sutton lectured at the school of Mines from May 1883 to December 1889. Henry spent a total of 17 years at the School of mines first as a student and then as a lecturer of Applied Electricity and Magnetism. Henry’s class was the first of its type in Australia.

Reference: Henry Sutton An Innovative Man Australian Inventor, Scientist and Engineer by Lorayne Branch Pub. 2018. Available in the Observatory Library and for sale in the Science Shop.