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30th of June 2021
Lawrence Hargrave, astronomer
Lawrence Hargrave, who was pictured on the original Australian $20 note, is best known as an aeronautical pioneer, but also worked as an astronomer! Hargrave started work at the Sydney Observatory in 1878 and observed the 1881 transit of Mercury, and was involved in an attempt to observe the 1882 transit of Venus (which failed due to poor weather). While at the Observatory, Hargrave designed and built adding machines to assist in his astronomical calculations. Three of Hargrave's later inventions were particularly significant, the study of curved aerofoils, the box kite, and work on the rotary engine, which powered many early flying machines. Hargrave tested his kites at the seaside hills of Stanwell Park, between Sydney and Wollongong (an area still popular with hang gliders), and his work is commemorated with the feature wall pictured above and a nearby monument.

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