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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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Dr. Charles Stargard Rumker

Rumker, whom Sir Thomas Brisbane selected as first assistant, was at that time a man of acknowledged ability as an Astronomer, and Mathematician, but I find no record of his previous history, excepting some Astronomical papers in Baron de Zach's correspondence. He accepted the position in Sir Thomas's private Observatory, and it is evident that he was well received and taken into a confidential position at once.

It is, perhaps, worth mentioning that in all the papers he communicated to the Royal Astronomical Society, in his long life, and they numbered eighty-eight, he is called Mr. Charles Rumker, and in his work in the Philosophical Transactions, 1829, he calls himself Charles Rumker. But he read one paper before the Philosophical Society of Australia, in 1822, and he is the (Judge Field's Memoirs) called Dr. Charles Stargard Rumker. In the grant of land given to him here, he is called Charles Luis Rumker. The Royal Astronomical Society gave him a Silver Medal for his work on Encke's Comet, and in presenting it the President said, I have peculiar satisfaction in presenting to Dr. P Karl Rumker, the Superintendent of the Parramatta Observatory. And when he was appointed Astronomer at Parramatta in 1827, by the Colonial Government, he is called Charles Luis Rumker, the same in his grant of land. There cannot in any of these cases be any question as to his identity.

In proof of the early confidence, it may be mentioned that in the Philosophical Transactions for 1823, (p. 308), Sir Thomas published his observations made with the pendulum apparatus he took to Parramatta, he swung it frequently before he left London, and in all cases it was Rumker who was called in to work with him, but we hear nothing then of Dunlop. At Parramatta, four months after the observatory work began, Sir Thomas again got to work at the pendulum, but called Dunlop and not Rumker, and in these observations, which were published with those made in London, Captain Henry Kater, who read the paper, says: one series was made at Parramatta, by Mr. Dunlop, a gentleman of whose zeal and scientific abilities Sir Thomas Brisbane expresses himself in the highest terms.

Of Rumker, so late as 17th January, 1823, Sir Thomas in a paper to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Vol. x, p. 112), says these results are exclusively by Mr. Rumker to whom it "is impossible for me to give adequate praise, either for zeal, assiduity or intelligence."

In the Introduction to the Parramatta Catalogue it is stated that Rumker made the meridian observations, and from those published by him in the Philosophical Transactions in 1829, it appears that he also made special observations for latitude and longitude, the dates given in these observations shew that he continued observing there in the ordinary way until June 15, 1823, and it is stated in the Introduction to the Parramatta Catalogue that he left the Observatory on June, 10, 1823. There is a gap then of Thirteen months in his observations, and nothing to shew what he was doing, but page iv. of the Parramatta Catalogue says he remained in the colony; and his observations, I find, begin again at "Stargard" on July 15th, 1824. (Philosophical Transactions, 1823, Part III., p. 63.) It appears from the latitude and longitude of this place, which he gives, that it was about 40 miles north, and 20 miles west from Parramatta, and in the Royal Astronomical Society's Memoirs (Vol. II. p. 284), he says:—" 'Stargard' is the name I have given to my farm." It is evident, therefore, that having fallen out with Sir Thomas Brisbane, he retired to his farm and remained there until the latter left the Colony, making observations until December 20, 1825. On the 10th May, 1826, his observations begin again in the Parramatta Observatory, and it is worth noting that Thomas Brisbane gave up his appointment on December 1st, 1825, and that Dunlop remained in Parramatta Observatory until March 2nd, 1826. From May 10th, 1826, Rumker was a most active observer for latitude, longitude, pendulum and other observations, until December 26th, 1828, which is the date of his last observation. The results are published in the Philosophical Transactions, 1829, Part III, and occupy one hundred and fifty-five pages, and in the Royal Astronomical Society's Memoirs (Vol. III., pp. 100 and 277), occupying thirty-four pages.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dunlop, James; Rümker, Christian Carl Ludwig; 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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