The Brisbane Astronomical Society (1896 to 1917), Its Six-inch Refractor, and Key Members Dudley Eglinton and James Park Thomson

Anderson, P. E., and Orchiston, W. (2020)


The period between 1890 and 1930 saw a flowering of astronomical endeavour in Queensland and also a drama that ended in the demise of the Brisbane Astronomical Society. One of those involved was Dudley Eglinton, a populariser of astronomy who organised the purchase of a 6-inch refracting telescope and established the Brisbane Astronomical Society in 1896. The other was James Park Thomson who founded the Queensland Branch of the Geographical Society of Australasia (later the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia). His main interest was in geography, but he was also a competent observational astronomer. After the demise of the Brisbane Astronomical Society, Eglinton formed a new Society, the Queensland Popular Science and Art Society, and raised funds to buy a new telescope, but he soon became blind. The new Society appears to have quickly foundered, but within a few years the Astronomical Society of Queensland (1927–1978) was formed as a successor to the Brisbane Astronomical Society and Eglinton was elected a Vice-President. Thomson appears to have played no part in this new Society. Keywords: Queensland astronomy, Brisbane Astronomical Society, D. Eglinton, J. P. Thomson, F. D. G. Stanley, 6-inch Grubb refractor, Queensland Popular Science and Art Society, 12-inch reflector.