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The Mount Stromlo Observatory is (strangely enough) located on Mount Stromlo, a 770m-high mountain just west of the Australian Capital Territory capital of Canberra. The observatory is part of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Australian National University (known as the ANU).
The observatory was established shortly after the Australian Capital Territory was founded. The original instrument, the Oddie telescope, was located there in 1911, and the dome built for it was the first government building to be established in the ACT.
The observatory has an interesting history. Originally established by Pietro Baracchi, an Italian-born astronomer who became the Government Astronomer for Victoria, the observatory took part in Australia's war efforts during WWII by producing gun sights and other optical equipment. After the war, the observatory was acquired by the ANU and focuses on stellar and galactic astronomy (originally, its subjects were slightly more close-to-home: atmosphere and solar observation). In January 2003, the observatory was devastated by a bushfire (the Canberra firestorm: see the tip on this subject for more information).
Visiting: visitors are welcome at the observatory. The area is still recovering from the damage wrought by the 2003 bushfire, but the its many wonderful walks and panoramic view is definitely worth a visit.
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