Photographic print, camels pulling a car used on the Cordillo Downs eclipse expedition, paper / silver gelatin, photographer unknown, used at Sydney Observatory, near Mount Hopeless, Central Australia, September, 1922
On the 21 September 1922 an eclipse of the sun passed across the centre of Australia providing optimum conditions for observations.
The scientific community used this opportunity to confirm Einstein's prediction that light passing the sun would be bent by gravity, by 1.76 seconds of arc. As a result an Adelaide party, under the direction of George Dodwell, set up their equipment at Cordillo Downs. Mr. Kennedy used pack camels to transport the telescopes and other instruments some 400 miles from the nearest rail at Lyndhurst Siding to the remote station.
Dodwell, who had been visiting the Astronomer Royal, in Greenwich, arrived later in the car in this picture. He had set out from Adelaide with high hopes but the car became bogged in the sand near 'Mount Hopeless'. The car as we can see was eventually pulled by camels before making it to Cordillo Downs. For more information see associated Powerhouse Museum Theme 'Australian Solar Eclipse Expedition, Cordillo Downs 1922'.
Geoff Barker, Curatorial, October 2008
Campbell, W. W., 'The Total Eclipse of the Sun, September 21, 1922', Astronomical Society of the Pacific, provided by the NASA Astrophysics Data System, May 2008
Haynes, Raymond, Haynes, Roslynn, Malin, David, McGee, Richard, Explorers of the Southern Sky, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996