Carnarvon to Narrabri: a literary journey

Birmingham, UK, May 2019: Australian novelist writes about life at University of Birmingham’s solar observatories, the headline reads.

Two of the University of Birmingham’s most remote solar observatories are featured in a long-form essay, Staring At The Sun, by Australian novelist Tracy Sorensen, published on the Big Skies Collaboration blog.” Says Steven Hale, BiSON Instrumentation Engineer at the University of Birmingham, “Tracy has done an amazing job of capturing the atmosphere at Carnarvon and Narrabri and the beauty of the clear inland skies. I hope her essay inspires a sense of wonder in readers and encourages more people to take an astro-tourism holiday in south-eastern Australia.” Read more from Birmingham University here >>

Big Skies Collaborator, novelist, documentary maker and Skywriter, Tracy Sorensen, visited the Birmingham Solar-Oscillations Network (BiSON) observatories near her home town of Carnarvon, in Western Australia, and at CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility’s  Paul Wild Observatory near Narrabri, on our Inland Astro-Trail, to research her long read post for our BSC blog, Staring At The Sun. The outcome is sure to make you smile!

Staring At The Sun was launched by Tracey Callinan, Executive Director of Arts Out West, at a small gathering of Skwriters and friends at Bathurst’s historic Lachlan Inn on Sunday 31 March 2019. We also celebrated the short-listing of Tracy Sorensen’s novel, The Lucky Galah, for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2019 that evening.

BSC LaunchTracy'sEssay_31March2019-IMG_2427 (1)
Launching our first guest blog post, Staring At The Sun, by novelist and Big Skies Collaborator Tracy Sorensen (centre front) at the historic Lachlan Inn in Bathurst. Back row from left: Collaborator Merrill Findlay, Vi Tourle (Lachlan Inn owner), Tracey Callinan (Arts Out West), Suzie Gibson (Skywriters Project), Margaret Bollimore, Fiona, and Skywriter Phil Sanders. Photo by Steve Bollimore, 31 March 2019.






Book trailer for Tracy’s novel   The Lucky Galah (Picador 2018). Drone footage by Ben Teo; other images by Tracy Sorensen and Steve Woodhall. “Astronaut heartbeat data” was filmed at the Space Museum in Carnarvon, WA.




Tracy visits Carnarvon’s ‘Dish’ on the site of the tracking station which played an important role in the Apollo 11 moon mission.


The Lucky Galah is a novel about fate. About Australia. About what it means to be human. It just happens to be narrated by a galah called Lucky.

For more on Carnarvon’s role in the Apollo 11 moon landing, visit the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum.

Credits: Top photo, one of the six dishes of CSIRO’s Australia Telescope Compact Array at the Paul Wild Observatory near Narrabri. Photo by Merrill Findlay, May 2016. My thanks to ATCA staff for introducing me to their observatory.

Page created by Merrill Findlay 21 June 2018. Last updated 16 October 2019.


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