Whakatane Astronomical Society (Inc.)- Brief History.
A weekend course in astronomy in April 1960 led to the Inaugural Meeting on the 11 August 1960.
November 1960—Mr. Roy Stewart of Whakatane presented the Society with a 15cm Newtonian reflector.
January 1961—the Society accepted a 30cm Cassegrain reflector from Con Hargreaves of the Auckland Astronomical Society.
March 1961—Dr. Frank Bateson visited Whakatane with view of a possible site for a professional observatory, no developments.
February 1962—Mr. Kingsley-Smith, Mr. Izett and Mr. Duthie inspected an area of Borough Reserve on Hillcrest as a suitable site for an observatory.
Jan./April 1964—Construction of the Observatory continued, the dome was completed by Freddy Wederell, and installed.
May 9th 1964—The Observatory was officially opened by Mr. F.A. Bridges ( Deputy Mayor of Whakatane)
February 1968—Dr. Frank Bateson to retire the following year from his position as Astronomer-in Charge of Mount John. Jim Duthie offered the setting up of his telescopes in Tauranga to continue his personal observing programmes.
September 1968—At the AGM resolved that the Society should affiliate with RASNZ.
October 1969—From minutes of a Special General Meeting “ The Society accept the offer of Dr. Frank Bateson to sell his 20cm Grubb refractor with all equipment to the Society”, i.e. Tebbutt’s Telescope.
January 1970—Dr. Frank Bateson was awarded the O.B.E.
During 1970 extensions were built to house the Grubb.
January 1971—Installation of the 20cm Grubb refractor under the guidance of Frank Bateson, in the new building.
May 1984—The Hawkesbury Shire Council of Windsor, (near Sydney, Australia) wanted to buy the 20cm Grubb telescope (manufactured in 1882) To return it to the observatory of John Tebbutt, who owned and used it, from 1885 till he died in 1916.
By March 1985—it had been arranged to swop the Grubb for a Celestron 14.
July 1986—The C14 was finally installed.
September 23rd 1986—At the AGM Jim Duthie was presented, by Bruce Thompson, with a certificate recognizing his many years of service to the Whakatane Society and announcing that the new Celestron 14 telescope, in future, would be known as the “ James H. Duthie Telescope”