The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium and Amateur Astronomy in Queensland

Anderson, P.E., and Orchiston, W. (2021)


Planetariums are a worldwide public educational, teaching and research phenomenon. In this paper, we very briefly examine their history in Australia, before focusing on the twentieth century development of amateur astronomy in Brisbane, the founding of the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium in 1978, and the involvement of the South East Queensland astronomical community in this event. We also review the backgrounds and interests of the Planetarium’s first two Curators, Jeff Ryder (1977–2002) and Mark Rigby (2002–2021), rank them as amateur astronomers when they joined the Planetarium, and present them as atypical examples of the amateur-turned-professional (ATP) syndrome in Australian astronomy. Keywords: planetariums, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, amateur astronomy, Mark Rigby, Jeff Ryder, ATP syndrome.