ASA Australian Standards Designated Optical Observatory: DO3-14
IAU Minor Planet Centre Designated Observatory: E16
The Grove Creek Observatory is a privately owned non-profit observatory, providing access to research grade telescopes for amateur astronomers and educational facilities. Our mission is to share the wonders of the
Southern Skies with the world-wide astronomical community. All staff are volunteers who donate their time.
The observatory is located in one of the best night sky locations in the southern hemisphere, well away from any city lights, at an altitude of 935 meters with a limiting visual magnitude of 7.37 and a new moon background sky magnitude of 22 (+/-0.5) . It is located at Trunkey Creek, 255kms by road (170kms direct), due west of Sydney, on the western edge of the Blue Mountains and the Great Dividing Range, in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. The nearest city is Bathurst (pop. 39,000) - located 59kms north/east.
Grove Creek is considered one of the best observing locations in Australia. The observatory is situated on the highest point of a sheep and cattle grazing property, well away from any light pollution and radio noise with a 360° view of the night sky. The nearest village, Trunkey Creek, is 4kms south/west of the observatory and hidden within a deep valley. With a population of only 50 people and protected street lighting, no lights from the village can be seen. That makes Grove Creek Observatory one of the best dark sky locations available and therefore considered the premier site for seeing faint interesting objects and taking CCD images of the southern night sky.
The Observatory was established in 1985 primarily for conducting public tours of the arrival of Comet Halley. The extensive sheep and grazing property surrounding the site where the observatory now stands, was then owned by the Lynch family. Jim Lynch, the eldest son, already had a small private domed observatory located 2 kms south of the current observatory housing a 12.5" Dall-Kirkham designed telescope that he had been using since 1975. Jim and his two younger brothers, Tom and Mark Lynch, decided that the current observatory was too small and had difficult access to provide visitor tours for the soon to arrive Halley's comet. They decided to build a new observatory, 100 metres off Grove Creek Road, on the highest hill of the property.
During the construction of the new observatory in mid 1985, the 10ft dome and C-14 telescope were purchased from Mr. Lionel Larson of Bilpin NSW. As bookings for Halleys Comet poured in, it soon became clear that one telescope was not going to be sufficient. A sliding roof observatory was built 30 meters west of the main domed building. Jim's 12.5" Dall-Kirkham telescope (now modified to a f/4 Newtonian) was then moved to the 500mm diameter concrete and steel central pier of the new "Western Observatory". Over two thousand people saw the comet from Grove Creek, during the 1985/86 visit.
In 2007 we brought a new computerised sliding roof type observatory online, measuring 7.08m long x 4.65m wide x 2.4m high. It is equipped for remote internet use, using advanced roof motors, sensors and relay control systems, and can house up to 3 telescopes.
The observatory is now closed to the public. All our telescopes are used remotely over the internet by the scientific and educational community. Sorry, we do not conduct public tours.
For further information, please email us