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18th of February 2019
50th anniversary of the Parkes Visitor Centre
Last week the Parkes radio observatory's Visitors Centre celebrated its 50th birthday! On 14 February 1969, the centre opened its doors and since then, more than 5 million people have visited to find out more about the astronomy and spacecraft tracking the telescope enables. It is said that in the early days of the Parkes telescope's operation in the 1960s, visitors would knock on the door of the telescope to find out more about it! After some lobbying, the visitors centre was built at a cost of $50,000 and officially opened by the then Science and Education Minister, Malcolm Fraser on 14 February 1969. Visitors numbers sky-rocketed after the release of the popular movie The Dish, with numbers peaking in 2003 with 138,000 visitors that year. The image above shows staff and visitors celebrating the occasion with the cutting of the 50th birthday cake. (Image credit: Parkes Phoenix)

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