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Memento : Issue 23
4 memento may 2003 When devastating bushfires struck the western outskirts of Canberra in January, one of the oldest buildings in the Australian Capital Territory lay directly in their path. Mount Stromlo Mount Stromlo Solar Observatory buildings and dome, 1928. Photos from the Mildenhall collection. NAA: A3560, 7539 NAA: A3560, 4573 Seventeen landmark Constitutional docu- ments and 12 Griffin design drawings for Canberra have been added to the Australian register for UNESCO's Memory of the World Program. The Memor y of the World Program is a register of significant heritage documents maintained by UNESCO. It is the equivalent of the World Heritage Register, which lists sites of natural and built heritage significance . On 30 April, former Minister for Science Dr Barry Jones presented the Archives with cer tificates for the two treasured collections that have been added to the Australian register. Many of the Constitutional documents are held by the Archives, while other s are owned or controlled by the National Librar y of Australia, the High Cour t of Australia, the Parliament of Australia and the Office of the Governor-General. Some can be viewed in the Federation Galler y in our Canberra office and on our Documenting a Democracy website. The 12 Griffin drawings are held in our collection and were recently exhibited in our Canberra galler y. Memory of the World Within minutes, most of the buildings in the Mount Stromlo Observatory complex, including the expensive equipment they housed, were com- pletely destroyed. The arduous task of rebuilding the historic complex now lies ahead. The site for the solar observatory was chosen in 1910, but war intervened and construction on Mount Stromlo did not begin until 1923. Founded mainly to study the sun and support research into geophysics, the complex was later extended to include residences, plant and maintenance buildings. The National Archives holds extensive records on the establishment and construction of the Mount Stromlo Observatory. Perhaps the most valuable are architectural drawings showing the meticulous construction of the observatory. These drawings include details of laboratories, telescope domes, residences, administration buildings, storerooms and workshops. Also in the collection are more than 150 photographs of the observatory taken by William James (Jack) Mildenhall, the government photographer who recorded the development of early Canberra in the 1920s and 30s. Most of these images have been digitised and are available for viewing through our RecordSearch database. More recent images of Mount Stromlo, taken by the Australian Overseas Information Service, can be viewed on our PhotoSearch database. Other records about Mount Stromlo Observatory in our collection are listed in Fact Sheet 167, which is available under 'Publications -- Fact Sheets' on our website at www.naa.gov.au. Most of these records have been digitised and are available for viewing through RecordSearch. mourning Detail of Griffin drawing. NAA: A710, 44--47