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  • Toner Stevenson

Radio Astronomy walk : 11 Feb 2024

Date and time: 9am Sunday 11 February

Departing from: Rodney Reserve, Dover Heights, NSW

End of tour: Watson's Bay Hotel at approx. 11am.

Cost: Free.

Want to join this tour? Send an email by 9am Friday 9 Feb to confirm:

Celebrate the early days of radio astronomy on this walking tour from Dover Heights.  There is a new biography of Joseph L. Pawsey, written by Miller Goss, Claire Hooker and Ron Ekers, who led the team that worked at Dover Heights and this is a good opportunity to see the site and understand the significance of those early observations and ground-breaking work. This date is chosen close to the anniversary of the world famous 7 Feb 1946 event! Come along to find out more!


Joe Pawsey and the Founding of Australian Radio Astronomy can be purchased here. The book is also open access and can be read on-line or downloaded in full from the Springer site.  The main Dover Heights story can be found in Chapter 13. There are is a related paper by Wayne Orchiston and Peter Robertson you can download here.

We will spend about 30 minutes at Rodney Reserve exploring two radio astronomy sites, then walk past Diamond Bay, Macquarie Lighthouse, the South Head Signal Station, the Dunbar anchor and other heritage sites, concluding in Watson Bay. We will then have a refreshing drink in the Watson Bay Hotel.

Right: Yagi antenna. Image courtesy CSIRO

Below: The 'hole in the ground' receiver. Image courtesy CSIRO


Water, sunblock, hat and long sleeves recommended, sensible walking shoes.



We will make a decision the day before if we are not going ahead due to a bad weather forecast. This is why we want to know by email if you intend to come.


Option 1: By Car

Drive to Rodney Reserve – there is plenty of parking available next to Torah Girls High. Those with cars can then drive to the second stop, Macquarie Lighthouse, where there are toilets. You will leave your cars here or drive further but please note parking at Watsons Bay is limited.


Option 2: Bus then Walking

Bus to Rodney Reserve. Bus Number 380, alight at Blake Street Dover Heights

Corner Blake Road and Military Road.

The Yagi antenna courtesy CSIRO


After the tour 

Drinks at Watsons Bay Hotel then it is up to you!

For those with lots of energy there is a magnificent walk around South Head to the historic lighthouse and messengers cottage which you can do on your own, have a swim at Camp Cove or just hang around Watson’s Bay.



There are regular buses from Watsons Bay back to where we started.

  • The 380 takes you back to near Rodney Reserve (alight at Blake Street stop 07) or stay on for the city.

  • The 324,325 will take you to the City via Edgecliff.

  • Or the ferry from Watsons Bay back to the city or Manly is a great way to go.


Parking at Watson’s Bay is limited.


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