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Digital Image - Assistant Astronomer's Residence, Melbourne Observatory, circa 1875 Image Reg. No: MM 98419

Digital copy of original photograph of the residence of Edward J. White, Assistant Astronomer at Melbourne Observatory, circa 1875. Edward White is depicted sitting on the front steps.

The residence was one of two completed in 1864 for the Government Astronomer, Robert Ellery, and his Chief Assistant, Edward J. White. They were located adjacent to the Observatory, close to St Kilda Road. Edward White occupied his residence from 1864 until his death in 1913. The two residences were demolished in the 1930s for the construction of the Shrine of Remembrance.
Original photograph mounted on board.
Statement Of Significance:
Edward J. White (1831-1913) was First Assistant Astronomer at Melbourne Observatory. White joined Williamstown Observatory as assistant astronomer in 1860, moved to Melbourne Observatory when it was established in 1863, and remained as First Assistant Astronomer until his retirement in 1892.

White was responsible at the Observatory for the main transit observations, both to establish local standard time, and for preparation of star catalogues of southern hemisphere stars. He also undertook most of the detailed mathematical work required to reduce each observation and determine its precise position for the star catalogues.

White resided in one of the two houses built for the astronomers adjacent to the Observatory near St Kilda Road; Government Astronomer Robert Ellery lived in the other. Even after he retired in 1892, White continued to reside in the house until his death, the rent deducted from his pension. He continued to undertake work for the Observatory on a casual basis, continuing work on reducing star observations for publication.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Karen White, 2009
Discipline: Technology

More information

Tagged with: observatories, astronomy, houses, gardens
Themes this item is part of: Melbourne Observatory Collection, Science & Measurement Collection, Positional Astronomy at Melbourne Observatory, Weights & Measures at Melbourne Observatory, Melbourne Observatory & Standard Time in Victoria, Mapping the Stars at Melbourne Observatory, Astrographic Catalogue, Transits of Venus, 1874 & 1882, Buildings at Melbourne Observatory, Star Observations & Personal Equation, Meteorology at Melbourne Observatory, 1863-1908, Melbourne Observatory, 1863-1944, Geodetic Survey of Victoria, 1858-1872
Primary Classification: ASTRONOMY
Secondary Classification: Research
Tertiary Classification: observatories
Format: Digital Still Image: Black & White
Place & Date Depicted: Melbourne Observatory, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia, circa 1875
Person Depicted: Mr. Edward White - Melbourne Observatory, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia, circa 1875
References: Diary of Edward J. White, 1850-1913, State Library of Victoria, MS 13122.
Robert Ellery, Presidential Address, 8 July 1872, Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, v 10, 1870-73.

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