Astronomical ideas have shaped Australia’s national identity. This thesis gives a cultural history of those ideas in colonial Australia. It argues that the global imagination of the ‘land under the southern stars’ was shaped by a worldwide trade in knowledge and entertainment, as well as the local enactment of popular science through image, ink and voice. National identity, everyday experiences, ideals of science, apocalyptic visions and religious thought were aspects of popular astronomy in the nineteenth century that are still expressed today, demonstrating that scientific discovery can be rapid but cultural frameworks change more slowly.
Copyright © 2017 Martin Bush.
Thesis submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Swinburne University of Technology, 2017.