No, it doesn't mean that you can see a conservative English politician there, but I would like to draw your
attention to a (from all reports) recently opened public astronomical observatory there.
In fact, it goes by the name of Mudgee Observatory, and though it is some 19 km from the town, it is close enough to be
an accurate description as well.
Two of us went there this past Friday evening, and for the fee of $10 per adult, we were regaled with views of various heavenly
objects and some interesting talk and some audio-visual presentation. In addition, we enjoyed the crisp air of a late-Autumn Mudgee evening.
We used a 16-inch f/6 Newtonian reflector and an 11-inch (Meade or Celestron - it was so dark I couldn't see the name) for some 240X views of Saturn's subtle
splendour. (Well, in this case subtle and splendour seemed to fit the bill.) On this point, I might say that the image of that planet seemed to be about the
size of the full moon to the naked eye. That was my impression, anyway, and perhaps an astonomer might clarify this.
The 16-inch reflector was used to view various star clusters, including the Jewel Box and the Omega Centauri globular cluster.
In addition, we (last to leave) had a little tour of the whole facility, which included about six "domes" - one with a rolling flat roof - and one of which
housed an 11-inch (I think) astrograph. That was a gasp-worthy thing to see! Any number of 4-inch refractors - mostly for solar work and with substantial
H-alpha filters, guide-scopes of considerable girth in themselves, and various other grades of (seemingly amateur) telescopes abounded.
In all it was a most interesting evening, and the proprietor, John, was a font of home-grown (by his own admission) knowledge and practical ability, able
to marshal and present facts about astronomy and telescopery and astrophotgraphy that he had developed over the past 40 years in an engaging
broad country accent, just as you might expect a neighbouring sheep-farmer to sport.
OK, well, here's the website...
Just a word if driving from Mudgee to there: take the tarred Hill End Rd PAST the turn-off to Old Grattai Rd and turn into that from the "far" end. That way you
will avoid chewing quite a few kilometres of dust from the dirt road - about 1 Km instead of about 10. Also, take a torch with you, as the car park can be
Am. (Who didn't take any pics of the place!)