Inland Astro-Trail

First Inland Astro-Trail Symposium_Square FinalJOIN US for the first Inland Astro-Trail Symposium in Parkes, NSW, Wednesday 6 February 2019.
And why not become a member of IAT Inc. to be part of this visionary endeavour?
PDF version IAT Inc Membership Form 2018
Word version IAT Inc Membership Form 2018

More on our IAT Symposium, AGM and dinner, booking and payment here >>
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The Inland Astro-Trail is an astro-tourism, STEAM outreach (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), cultural heritage and development initiative to link, promote, utilise and conserve sites of astronomical significance in southeastern Australia’s rural inland for the benefit of local communities.


Imagine visiting more than a dozen world-class research telescopes, numerous private observatories, and hundreds of astro-heritages sites along our Astro-Trail in southeastern Australia’s rural Inland.

Imagine a downloadable app that tells you about these sites, educational kits that inspire your kids to learn more about astronomy, a sky filled with more stars than you’ve ever thought possible and local astronomers eager to give you a closer view with their telescopes. Perhaps even a few skystories by local storytellers around a camp fire or over dinner and a glass or two of local wine or beer …

Certificate of Incorporation as an Association for Inland Astro-Trail Incorporated, an initiative of the Skywriters Project, Big Skies Collaboration,:
Registration No: INC1701499

The Inland Astro-Trail concept emerged from the Big Skies Collaboration‘s Skywriters Project. In brief, we want to develop an astro-tourism trail linking all the astronomical sites between CSIRO’s Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) near Narrabri, in north-western New South Wales, and Mt Stromlo Observatory in the Australian Capital Territory, within a region we call Southeastern Australia’s 700 Kilometre Array (700KA).

Why? Because we reckon that our astonishingly dark Inland night sky, and the 60,000 or more years of astro-cultural heritage associated with it, needs to be more fully recognised and celebrated by Australians and by stargazers all over the world! We want our young people to be inspired by our big inland sky and to explore it in new and thrilling ways. And we want tens of thousands of visitors to experience the full glory of our sky at night and its unique cultural heritage, as told by the Inland’s own diverse storytellers. We also want these visitors to contribute to the social, economic and cultural development of our rural Inland.

Our proposed trail would, of course, include CSIRO’s Parkes Observatory and the Australia Telescope Compact Array near Narrabri, and ANU’s Siding Spring Observatory, near Coonabarabran, Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) and UTMOST near Bungendore, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla, Mount Stromlo and the old tracking station sites in the Australian Capital Territory.

It would also include many of the private observatories within the 700KA region, such as Millroy Observatory operated by astronomer Donna Burton at Coonabarabran, Peter Starr’s Dubbo Observatory and Warrumbungle Observatory, Ray Pickard’s Bathurst Observatory Research Facility, and Les Dalrymple’s new observatory near Billimari, and the Tamworth Regional Astronomy Club‘s facilities, for example, along with astro-heritage sites throughout the region where Wiradjuri and Gomeroi astronomers have observed the stars for millennia, and many other sites were migrants and their settler-descendants have been observing our southern sky since the nineteenth century.

InlandAstroTrail Inc members Molong 2017
Founding members of Inland Astro-Trail Incorporated. Front row from left, Donna Burton (Coonabarabran), Yvette Aubusson-Foley (Dubbo), Margaret Jakovac-Paton (Blayney), Nathan Ryan (Molong). Back row, Merrill Findlay (Forbes), Peter Bishop (Katoomba), Cosette Douglas (Gilgandra), and Gai Lander (Grenfell). Photo by Steve Lander in Molong, 28 October 2017.

Big Skies Collaboration’s Skywriters Project took the first steps towards making the Inland Astro-Trail a reality by establishing a not-for-profit organisation, Inland Astro-Trail Incorporated, and electing our first executive committee (see photo) at a gathering in Molong in October 2017. Soon after that meeting we set up a public FaceBook page, @InlandAstroTrail and a closed FB group for people interested in contributing to our project. There’s much more work to be done before we see our Inland Astro-Trail a working reality, however!

If you’re interested in this project and would like to support it, please contact us at, or via FB messenger.

Credits for featured image at top of page
Detail of a mural in the corridor of Weddin Shire Council’s Community Hub, in Grenfell, New South Wales, featuring a quotation from the first stanza of Henry Lawson‘s 1888 ballad, ‘A May Night On The Mountains’. Lawson was born in Grenfell in 1867. Photo by Merrill Findlay.

Page established 27 July 2017. Last revised 12  January 2019.

700KA map last updated January 2018.