Dr Peter Nattrass
The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of
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Guy Murphy, president of the Mar Society, and Dr Vadim
Gushin, all the way from
Western Australians have maintained a special interest in space travel dating
right back to 1962 I think it was, when John Glenn flew around in Friendship
7. I was brought up in that era and I can remember the Mercury capsule being
brought here and travelling along the streets of
But when John Glenn went over we all got out there and turned all our
lights on, every conceivable light in
And again 17 years late Western Australia again felt connected with space travel because Skylab crashed into a very remote little town, or just outside a remote little town called Balladonia, and I can remember jimmy cater ringing up the pub in Balladonia to apologise for Skylab. And the subsequent to that the US ambassador brought Miss American out to Perth and they drove out to Balladonia to see where Skylab landed, so we do have an association with space travel and we feel a connection.
And again in 1998 when John Glenn went up in the Discovery a new generation of Western Australians enthusiastically embraced space travel. I can remember that occasion well because we all went up to a prearranged place up near Kings Park and there was going to be a direct broadcast between me as mayor and John Glenn, and we had that broadcast. Immediately after all the television crews were there, and Channel 7 here in Perth had asked me 5 minutes before would I come on and do a little interview after I had spoken with John Glenn and I said sure, but after I had spoken to John Glenn this lone television man with a camera, no support crew, or he didn’t seem to have a support crew, came up to me and said would I do an interview with him? and he had an American accent and I said look I’m sorry I, I can’t I’m already committed, and he said ‘oh, ok’, and I said why don’t you get (I was with) Julie Bishop, a Perth girl, she’s standing over there doing nothing and she speaks very well, so this lone camera man interviewed Julie Bishop and 5 minutes later her mobile phone went and it was a friend of hers in Times Square, New York, She had appeared on that great screen in Times Square and I’d just done this little interview in Perth.
But on that occasion in 1998, it was a new generation of Western Australians who came out and turned on the lights for John Glenn, and they were a new generation because they were more informed and a more sophisticated generation because they had grown up with an understanding of space travel, aided and assisted by all the modern technology we have today, such as that which this school of Trinity is so blessed as having, where students and academics can come together at an equal level and have a role in being involved in international astronomical events and also contribute in their own small away in space research, and indeed I understand that is happening with the Starchaser Marsupial, the rover, and also with the European space agency ground stations coming along at New Norcia
With Mars closer now than its ever been over the last 60,000 years, it nice to know that fuel consumption is a major factor in there now being four space probes now heading toward Mars, one due there on Christmas day this year, one from Europe, 2 from the United States and one from Japan, so this also indicate that space travel is now very much an multinational affair.
So we’re delighted here in Perth that the clear skies, the open spaces,
what is apparently termed radio quiet and the very sparse regional populations
in Western Australia create the ideal conditions that attract astronomers and
space researchers for the city that we’re so proud of. So we extend all of
your from the east our welcome; we’re proud of our city and we hope that while you’re here you have
time for more earthly pursuits than thinking about mars and you get an
opportunity to go to some of the attractions that we think make Perth unique. Most of all, may
your visit here be both rewarding and enjoyable, and particularly when you go