Gemini Near-Infrared Integral-Field Spectrograph (NIFS)

Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics    AUSPACE Ltd. Institute for Astronomy

Destroyed By Bushfire: January 2003

Many people will now know that much of Mt. Stromlo Observatory was destroyed by bushfire on the afternoon of Saturday 18 January 2003. Fortunately, all staff were evacuated minutes before the fire struck. However, two Stromlo staff lost their homes in the nearby suburb of Duffy, and many others fought to save their homes. Only three of the eleven houses on Stromlo remain habitable.

NIFS was destroyed, along with the workshops, the 74 inch telescope, the 50 inch MACHO telescope, the Yale-Columbia telescope, the 9 inch Oddie telescope, the heritage-listed administration building, and the Director's residence.

The two academic office buildings, the Duffield Building and the Woolley Building, were virtually untouched. RSAA staff are expected to move back into these buildings in a couple of weeks.

The NIFS science detector was in customs at the time. It arrived four days later and is safe.

The following pictures were taken on Monday 20 January when the media were given their first access to the site. The site had been made safe by removing live power lines and debris from the roads.

While pictures of the devastation at Mount Stromlo Observatory are distressing, we should remember that much of the surrounding suburban area looks the same with over 450 houses destroyed in Canberra.

Copyright @ 2003, Peter McGregor
Images must not be reproduced or mirrored in any form without written permission from Peter McGregor.

NIFS in the detector lab.

The NIFS cryostat

Control system thermal enclosure

NIFS integration frame

Precision XYZ measuring machine

Optical alignment bench

NIFS on 28-JAN-03.

NIFS on 28-JAN-03.

Pine forest by the boom gate

Pine forest on the way up

Graham Blackman's house

Another residence

The grass area below House 18

First view of the Duffield Building

Below Agris's house

The tea room end of the Administration Building

The Duffield and Woolley Buildings

The library end of the Administration Building

The tea room end of the Administration Building

Solar Telescope and library

Administration and library

The Woolley Building

Solar Telescope and library

The 50 inch MACHO Telescope

The 50 inch MACHO Telescope

Back of the Administration Building

Mechanical workshop store

Stanley lathe

Optical workshop glass saw

Optical workshop

The 74 inch Telescope

74 inch observer's room

74 inch coude room

Yale-Columbia Telescope

Back of the workshop building

Trees behind the workshop building

The 74 inch coude room

74 inch entrance

74 inch entrance

Optical workshop

Mechanical workshop windows

Woolley office building

Woolley and Duffield buildings

The emergency generator arrives

Inside the Woolley Building

Student quarters

Helmut Jerjen's office

Woolley office building

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