East Dome, Sydney Observatory, Australia

A project with

It was a project all the stars came out to see: the reinstatement of the historic third metal dome and accompanying astrographic telescope at Sydney’s Observatory Hill. The copper dome and telescope were removed from the site in 1986 and both have since been restored.

Project-managed by Pure Projects and built by Zadro Constructions, the project came about through an opportunity to reinstate the third dome near its original location on the site, while at the same time providing a way for aged and disabled people to experience the Observatory. This was made possible through funding from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing, Disability and Home Care and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.


The dome offers ground level entry through a beautiful glass and steel entry enclosure sympathetic to the Observatory location. A lift then delivers star-gazers to the first floor viewing platform. Once there, the telescope has a purpose-built articulated relay eyepiece, suitable for those in wheelchairs. There’s also an interpretive display about the history of the third dome.


The project wasn’t without its challenges. Not only did it involve the careful delivery and installation of the dome, but the base on which the pier for the telescope sits needed enough separation to ensure that any floor vibration didn’t affect the telescope.


Formally named the ‘East Dome’, the building was officially opened on January 27, 2015 by the Hon. John Ajaka, NSW Minister for Disability and Ageing.