Mr Pickard has a vision to build a museum and visitors' centre.Paul Toole
Star gazing is being taken to new heights at the Bathurst Observatory since its move to a new location on the hilltops overlooking the city.
While the transition from its previous Limekilns Road home to Billywillinga has been a huge task for its founder Ray Pickard, making the transition has been made that much easier thanks to support from the NSW Government, which has just announced a second funding grant for the facility.
Realising the potential tourism and educational value of the facility, Member for Bathurst Paul Toole has secured funding to ensure the relocation of the Bathurst Observatory is a success story for the community.
Mr Toole today announced a special one-off grant from Premier Gladys Berejiklian of $15,000 towards the Bathurst Observatory's continuing relocation.
"Mr Pickard has a vision to build a museum and visitors' centre near the huge dome where the main telescope is located," Mr Toole said.
"An initial grant of $5000 was made available to go towards this building which is now partially completed.
"Now Mr Pickard will be able to press on with the build, complete with amenities."
Mr Pickard said the Bathurst Observatory's new location provides excellent viewing opportunities at all times of the year.
"We're here in Bathurst at the gateway to the Central West and that opens up any number of potential tourism strategies to capitalise on this market," Mr Pickard said.
"Naturally, the Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted on visitation, but we are still running limited tours, so just call us on 0427 292214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information."
Mr Pickard said he used to do tours in the observatory dome, but he found the dome itself blocked out most of the night sky.
"Setting up a dedicated museum and education centre next to the dome was the solution and now Mr Pickard is pursuing that vision," Mr Toole said.