Sydney City Skywatchers Committee Members
Elected October 2023
Janette Brennan has been interested in astronomy since she first saw Saturn through a telescope in her teens. She joined the British Astronomical Association NSW Branch, now called Sydney City Skywatchers (SCS) in the late 1980’s and became the Astronomers’ Bulletin Editor in 1996. She works in IT and was made a life member of the SCS in 2017.
Elizabeth Budek has had an interest in astronomy and space since she was a little girl when her father showed her a comet in the night sky. She is an amateur astronomer and has been a member of Sydney City Skywatchers (formerly British Astronomical Association NSW Branch Inc.) since the early 1990’s. In 2001 she became the first female President of Sydney City Skywatchers, serving two terms. Since then, she has continued to serve on the committee and is currently Treasurer.
Ann Cairns has a Master of Teaching degree from The University of Sydney. She has dabbled in astronomy since she was a teenager and was inspired by her astronomy professor at the University of Iowa, Dr. James Van Allen, when studying for her Bachelor of Science degree. She has been an educator at Sydney Observatory and is passionate about STEM education.
Elizabeth Cocking has had a lifelong interest in astronomy since high school. Her main area of interest is cosmology, the history of astronomy in general, and all things to do with space. She has been a member of Sydney City Skywatchers, which was then the British Astronomical Association NSW Branch Inc., since the early 1990’s and has served as Secretary since 1996. In 2021 she was made a Life Member for her service and support as Secretary.
Dirk Goës has a Degree in Computer Science from Wollongong University and is currently enrolled in a Master of Science (Astronomy) at Swinburne University of Technology. He has been interested in astronomy since organising the viewing of the Transit of Venus at his son's primary school in 2012. He is a new member of the SCSW committee and will be helping to maintain and improve the website.
Andrew Jacob has been Curator and Astronomer at Sydney Observatory since 2015 where he is responsible for the Astronomy, Space and Sydney Observatory collections. He has a BE(Aero) from UNSW and a PhD in astrophysics from Sydney University. He has been an astronomer since receiving a telescope at age 12, guided tours at Sydney Observatory for over twenty-five years and is learning as much as he can about the history of astronomy in Australia.
Jeff has been interested in astronomy from a very young age, from when he was first captivated, at the age of 6, when seeing the rings of Saturn through his grandfather’s giant binoculars. He still enjoys observing through his various telescopes; mostly through his 18” Obsession. Jeff was engaged by several travel tour companies to take groups for astronomy tours including ‘Astronomy in the Vineyards’ and ‘Astronomy in the Flinders Ranges’. Jeff has been a casual night guide and educational officer at Sydney Observatory for more than 10 years. He is still an active member of several astronomical societies and has held several offices in those societies including being the Vice President of the Sutherland Astronomical Society as well as being a past Treasurer of that society.
Toner Stevenson has a degree in Design, Master of Management and a Doctorate in Social Sciences. She was Manager Sydney Observatory 2003 - 2015 and has worked in heritage and at The University of Sydney as Manager, School of Humanities. Her research is in the history of astronomy in Australia, particularly the contribution of the women and other ‘hidden figures’. She is a total solar eclipse observer and has co-authored a book titled ‘Eclipse Chasers’. Toner joined the SCS committee in 2013 and from 2019 to 2021 Toner served as President. For several years she has organised the speaker series and edited the website.
Andrew Wood has a lifelong interest in science and especially Astronomy. He bought a small telescope as a teenager and has owned several larger instruments since. Most of his observing is now done from a set up in his backyard in Wollongong. His formal studies were in biochemistry, obtaining a BSc from UNSW and a PhD from the University of Wollongong. His professional life involved research, teaching and technical roles. Now retired. He joined Sydney City Skywatchers in 2019, has been on the committee since 2020 and is honoured to be president in 2023.