# 41840

RUDD, Charles (photographer and publisher) (1849-1901)

The Great Melbourne Telescope.

$1,100.00 AUD

[Late 1880s]. Albumen print, 130 x 195 mm; preserved as issued mounted on the original green backing sheet, 190 x 230 mm, imprinted in red ink, upper centre: ‘C. RUDD. View Specialist. 257 Bourke Street’, and at lower centre: ‘VICTORIAN PHOTOGRAPHS.’; both the print and the secondary support are in excellent condition.

Rare 1880s view of the Great Melbourne Telescope, arguably the most advanced piece of scientific technology in the southern hemisphere at the time. Charles Rudd’s image is certainly one of the most complete nineteenth-century views of the telescope and its surrounding infrastructure, yet it appears to be unrecorded in Australian public collections.

‘The Great Melbourne Telescope was an important icon for nineteenth-century Melbourne, signifying a transition from a colonial outpost to a progressive city with an interest in science and astronomy. The telescope is now being restored to its original 1869 condition, as a fully functional observational telescope, to be returned to Melbourne Observatory in the Domain for public viewing.’ (Scienceworks, Museums Victoria, 2020)

‘The Great Melbourne Telescope (GMT) was built by Thomas Grubb of Dublin in 1868 and erected at Melbourne Observatory in 1869. It was a reflecting telescope with a speculum (metal) mirror of 48 inches (1.2 metres) diameter. At the time it was the second largest telescope in the world and the largest in the southern hemisphere. The design and construction was overseen by a committee of eminent British astronomers, which approved Thomas Grubb’s revolutionary design. Although incorporating many of Grubb’s earlier innovations, the telescope was on a larger scale than anything he had previously attempted. Grubb’s firm went on to make many of the major telescopes around the world in the second half of the 19th century. The telescope was operated at Melbourne Observatory by a Great Melbourne Telescope Observer: Albert Le Sueur (1869-70), E. Farie MacGeorge (1870-72), Joseph Turner (1873-83), and Pietro Baracchi (1883-92); thereafter it was used rarely.’ – greatmelbournetelescope.org.au