Community / Featured / News / 30th January 2023
Boost to Siding Spring observatory experience
The NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole visited Coonabarabran on Friday, 20 January, to announce a round of funding being granted to the Warrumbungle Shire.
Of note is the $577,120 that will be spent at Siding Spring Observatory to make the tourism experience of visitors more fulfilling.
The money will go towards a new outdoor exploratory deck, an all-abilities, astro-themed children’s playground, further event space and upgrades to the on-site cafe.
Mr Toole took a tour of the facility and said he was excited to be able to make the announcement, adding that the works would have a positive flow-on effect for the township of Coonabarabran.
“This is about growing the visitor economy and we know by growing the visitor economy we get more people into the region,” he said.
“That means more heads on beds, that means more people visiting cafes and restaurants in the local town and that actually helps the local economy.
“We know that tourism is a huge driver of economical development in our region and that’s why I’m really pleased to see that the observatory is going to receive the funding for these major upgrades to occur.”
Mr Toole said facilities like the observatory were gems of the rural western areas, providing Australians with a unique experience when they visit.
“I think it gives people an opportunity to learn about astronomy at the end of the day and to go to the observatory and see something out here in the far west of the state that you don’t normally see in the city, so we encourage people to travel out into regional NSW,” Mr Toole said.
“We’ve got so many assets in our own backyard; a lot of untold stories, a lot of things that are great for the community and visitors to see – and the observatory is an opportunity for that to occur.”
NSW deputy premier, Paul Toole announced funding for facilities at Siding Spring Observatory during his visit last Friday.
Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) director, professor Namoi McClure- Griffiths was excited that the funding and subsequent works meant people would take a far better experience home with them after visiting.
“The Australian National University is extremely grateful to the NSW government for enabling the upcoming enhancement of the Siding Spring visitor experience,” she said. “We look forward to drawing more visitors to Coonabarabran and sharing with them the wonders of the Universe accessible through the outstanding dark skies in the Warrumbungles.”
The funds were made available through the NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund Round Two and consisted of $160 million all up.