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Astronomical and Meteorological Workers in New South Wales


Lieutenant Dawes

Captain Flinders

Admiral Phillip Parker King

Sir Thomas MacDougall Brisbane

Dr. Charles Stargard Rumker

James Dunlop

P. E. De Strzelecki

Captain J. C. Wickham

Rev. W. B. Clarke, M.A.

Rev. A. Glennie

E. C. Close

Sir William Macarthur

J. Boucher

S. H. Officer

John Wyndham

William Stanley Jevons

Establishment of Meteorological Observatories

Votes and Proceedings, N.S.W., 1848.

Appendix A.

Appendix B.

Appendix C.

Appendix D.

Appendix E.

Appendix F.

Appendix G.

Appendix H.

Appendix I.

Appendix J.

Appendix K.

Appendix L.

Appendix M.

Appendix N.

Appendix O.

Appendix P.

Appendix Q.

Appendix R.

Appendix S.

Appendix T.

Appendix U.



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James Dunlop (continued)

"These considerations alone would have rendered it impossible to your Council to disunite in any expression, or mark of their approbation, individuals who have thus, each in his sphere, gone hand in hand together towards the perfection of Southern Astronomy, even had the labours of Mr. Dunlop been confined to the ordinary business of an Observatory, or to the observation of fixed instruments. But this is very far from having, been the case. The nebulous, as well as the sidereal heavens have occupied his attention, and in the prosecution of this most difficult and delicate branch of astronomy, he has availed himself entirely of his own resources in the most literal sense. The instrument which he used being not only his own, but the work of his own hands[14]; and the observations being performed by him after the departure of Sir Thomas Brisbane from the colony, at a personal sacrifice of his private interests, and in the face of difficulties which would have deterred anyone not animated with a real and disinterested love of science, from their prosecution. The results of these observations have been the description and determination of upwards of 600 nebulę and clusters of stars, and 253 double stars."

Mr. Dunlop got two other gold medals, which are now in the possession of his relations in this colony. I have seen all of these. Mr. James Kay, of the Colonial Architects Department, who married Mr. Dunlop's niece, has the medal presented by the Royal Astronomical Society, which has on one side a head with the words "Royal Astronomical Society of London, instituted MDCCCXX, Nubem pellente mathese," and on the other side Lord Ross' telescope, with the words "Quicquid nitet notandum, James Dunlop, 1828;" and Mr. Robert Dunlop, of Sydney, nephew of the astronomer, has the one presented by the Royal Institute of France. This has on it the words "Institute Royal de France," and on the other side "Prix D'Astronomie, M Dunlop Astronone.' "A La Nouvelle Hollande, 1835." The third medal was from the King of Denmark, and is now in the possession of Dr. Service, of Sydney. This has on one side a head surrounded by the words "Fredericus VI. Rex Dominę," and on the other "Non frustra signorum obilus speculamur et ortus." In the center a female figure, pointing to a globe held in her left hand, and below the words "Cometa visus, Sept., 1833," and engraved on, the edge "Dunlop." Mr. Dunlop's letters were lost or destroyed before he died, and there are no recorded particulars relative to the two foreign medals.

Once in England Dunlop went back to his old chief and became his assistant in the Observatory which he had established at Makerstown, and from time to time we find references to his work there. In the Royal Astronomical Society's Notices, (Vol. 1, p. 120) is a paper containing the places of Encke's Comet as reduced from thirty observations made by Mr. Dunlop, between October 26 and December 25, 1828, at Sir Thomas Brisbane's Observatory, at Makerstown, Roxburghshire.

Again a letter from Sir T. Brisbane contained nineteen occultations of stars observed at Makerstown, during 1829 and 1830, chiefly by Mr. Dunlop. (Loc. cit. Vol. 1, p. 196.) And another letter from Sir Thomas Brisbane, containing observations of the moon and moon culminating stars, in which he says these observations were almost entirely made by Mr. Dunlop, in 1829 and 1830. (Loc. cit. Vol. II., p. 30.) Dunlop evidently worked up the whole of these observations before he left Makerstown, and the result was communicated to the Royal Astronomical Society, April 8, 1831. He must have left England almost immediately after this, for the official record here shows that he was appointed Superintendent of the Parramatta Observatory, on November 11, 1831. From this time forward no record of his work is to be found in the Royal Astronomical society's Memoirs or Notices, and the only records I can find is contained in eight books of MS. observations which came with the instruments and are now in Sydney Observatory. In the first book the record begins in January 1832, and in that year there are upwards of two, thousand star observations, in 1833 about the same, and this book ends May 26, up to which time the observations were carried on at the same rate. The next book takes the record on to July 1835, and it is recorded that on April 28, 1835, he began to use the then new Transit Circle; observing the same star with it and with the Mural Circle; with a view of finding the errors of the Mural Circle After July, 1835, there is a gap, perhaps a book missing (Dunlop, Appendix J. says there were five), until March 1838, when the record again runs on up to January 1839, which is the latest Astronomical observation. Another volume contains a few Comet observations, some hourly meteorological observations taken out of the ordinary course, &c.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dunlop, James; Russell, Henry Chamberlain

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Russell, H. C. 1888 'Astronomical and Meteorological Workers in New South Wales, 1778-1860,' Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science vol. 1, 1888, pp. 45-94.

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