Lake Tyrrell Star Party
~ the celebration of the night sky over Lake Tyrrell near Sea Lake, north-west Victoria, Australia, as known to the Boorong people, the original inhabitants of the land and recorded by William Stanbridge, the first lessee of Tyrrell Station in 1847..
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Aim: To foster a broader and better understanding of the Boorong people of North-West Victoria through their unique knowledge of the night sky over Lake Tyrrell.
Background: In 1847 William Edward Stanbridge, formerly from the village of Astley in Warwickshire, England, became arguably the first white man to explore the area around Lake Tyrrell and took up a lease for 72,000 acres which he named Tyrrell Station. In a short space of time, Stanbridge befriended the native inhabitants of the land and learned their language. He also learned of the Boorong peoples extraordinary knowledge and their dependancy on the night sky over Lake Tyrrell. Stanbridge was so taken with the new constellations and Dreamtime stories that he was told that he lectured on the topic, firstly to the Philosophical Institute of Victoria in 1857 and then to the Ethnological Society of London in 1861.
Stanbridge's papers from his lectures still exist and from these papers, new studies of the Boorong constellations have been undertaken firstly by John Morieson, worker with Aboriginal communities in Victoria for more than 40 years, and more recently by Paul Curnow, a lecturer at the Adelaide Planetarium, South Australia.
Although the information from these relative new studies has been available for some time and several low-key get-togethers had been organised with John Morieson at Sea Lake, the nearest community to Lake Tyrrell, it was not until a social evening with Paul Curnow lead to the inauguration of the first Lake Tyrrell Star Party in October 2010 when astronomers, historians and other interested people from Victoria and interstate gathered at Sea Lake to celebrate the Boorong night sky over Lake Tyrrell.
A second Lake Tyrrell Star Party was held in March 2013 and plans are currently underway to hold a third Lake Tyrrell Star Party in 2015, the date yet to be decided.
Benefits: To astronomers ~ to take advantage of the beautiful clear dark skies over Lake Tyrrell that offer unparalleled viewing of the celestial dance.
To historians ~ to share in a unique study of the understandings of a white settler and his indigenous neighbours.
To other Aboriginal peoples ~ to perpetuate the memory of the Boorong people and their incredible stories based on the stars over Lake Tyrrell.
Hon. W. E. Stanbridge MLC