Sydney Observatory Residency Program
Photo by James Horan
The time ball atop the Sydney Observatory, photo courtesy of Powerhouse Museum.
The time ball atop the Sydney Observatory, photo courtesy of Powerhouse Museum.

Dr Nancy Cushing

Environmental historian Dr Nancy Cushing will explore the working and social history of Sydney Observatory’s time ball, focusing on what it has meant to the people of Sydney.

The time ball that sits atop the tower at the front of the Observatory was built so ships in the port had accurate time and was the reason for the institution’s establishment in the 1850s. It is still in its original condition apart from the addition of an electrical motor and some improvements made in the 1870s.

Cushing is a leading Australian environmental historian, academic and author who is Associate Professor in Australian history in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle. She is a member of the executive of the Australian and New Zealand Environmental History Network and the Australian Historical Association.

Dr Nancy Cushing, photo courtesy of the University of Newcastle.