Composite portrait, frontispiece for publication 'Transit of Venus 1874', 1892, Powerhouse Museum,P3548-780
The Transit of Venus on 6 June 2012 is the latest occurrence of an event that has shaped the scientific history of Australia. Captain Cook’s expedition to observe the 1769 transit in Tahiti led to the European settlement of Australia. The 1874 transit may not have been quite as auspicious but it did lead to some major advances in the use of photography for astronomical observations.
Lightning strikes on the Sydney Harbour, 7 December, 1892. The photograph was exposed over four minutes giving an impression of five separate strikes. Government Astronomer H C Russell calculated the height of the Darling Harbour flash from the cloud to the water to be approximately 1540 feet.
Lieutenant William Dawes, who came out to Australia with the First Fleet, made the first recorded meteorological observations in Australia but the next set were probably made from Parramatta Observatory between October 1822 and March 1824.