Geoffrey Bolton Lecture 2023: Overlooked: Western Australia’s Place in the Universe

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Explore the role of archives in discovering and exploring the universe through stories from three guest speakers – Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker, Paul Jones from the Perth Observatory, and local author, Julia Lawrinson.
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GBL 2023

The Geoffrey Bolton lecture honours Geoffrey Bolton AO, Australian historian, academic and writer, and is an annual celebration of discovery and insight, informed and enriched by archives. The lecture is intended to allow for a diversity of voices and viewpoints to be heard in a respectful way and views expressed in the lecture are the speaker’s own.

In this three-part lecture podcast, Producer Sarah Tout interviews three speakers about the unique role archives and Western Australia have played in discovering and exploring the universe.

Our guest speakers for this lecture are:

Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker – is an award-winning local radio astronomer from the from the International Centre of Radio Astronomy Research. She works with the Pawsey Supercomputer and the Murchison Widefield Array – a precursor telescope to Square Kilometre Array. Dr Hurley-Walker discusses her work, the important role of archival data in discovery, and the way the contributions of women were overlooked in the past – a challenge that continues today affecting the careers of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Mr Paul Jones – Secretary of the Perth Observatory Volunteer Group Inc. He discusses the history of Perth Observatory, which has produced globally significant research and important State archives through its working life. Mr Jones also highlights the overlooked contributions of women to scientific discovery.

Ms Julia Lawrinson – a local author, shares her work of the picture book ‘City of Light’. Ms Lawrinson recounts astronaut John Glenn’s famous flyover of Perth in 1962 and the value of the State archives and State Library as important resources for local writers.




The producer, speakers, and the State Records Office acknowledge that this podcast was created on Wadjuk Boodjar. We pay our respects to First Nations Elders past and present, and acknowledge the intricate cosmology developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over millennia.