About Boambee Observatory

moon 3capture        

Designated Optical Observatory




Some history.

The land to site the observatory was subdivided into its present boundaries in 1983. The observatory was designed as an octoganal form and built about 1986/7 by Pat Wilson (JP&MW Investments Pty.Ltd.) utilising the services of a local builder, Max Hutchinson, we presume the stunning 7165m2 landscaped grounds were planted out around this time. 

       house plan 1                           pedestal plan 

Pat built the telescope enclosure himself and imported from Galaxy Optics in the US both the primary and secondary mirrors. He also imported the motorised dome from Ashdome in the US and had it assembled and installed. Dome images courtesy of Mr. Tom Aarts.

dome part openThe domedome closed

We believe that Pat was the proprietor of a motel in Sawtell however due to personal circumstances he sold the observatory to Rodney Wayne Thomas, Lynette Rose Thomas and Thelma Pearl Keightley in1991/2.

Separate self contained guest accommodation was made to accommodate visitors staying overnight for “Viewings”

           cottage                                                 Cottage plan

The scope.


-50cm F4 Newtonian on Dobsonian mount
-Ash Dome, fully imported from the USA
-Motorised altitude (vertical opening) and motorised 360 degree horizontal rotation.

Example of imported Ash Dome.


20inch primary telescope mirror


Example of Dobsonian mount.


Newtonian Telescope.


Winwood Howard was living and working in Sydney and in November 1992 read an advertisement in a now defunct astronomy magazine called Sky and Space, for the sale of the Observatory.

Winwood (Win) purchased the observatory in December 1992 but did not commence living there until July 1993.

win purchase

Over the years, especially in the first ten or so, Win had frequent contact with the Advocate particularly when anything newsworthy was happening in the sky. They would come to the observatory, take a few photos and report what Win had told them concerning the event. That happened many times.

win cometwin outer spacewin adv saturnwin ad sky no limit

Win Howard is currently the president of the Coffs Harbour Astronomical Society http://coffsastro.weebly.com/

Win is very knowledgeable in all things above us and is well respected as an amateur astronomer.

Win is also the facilator at the University of The Third Age (U3A) Coffs Harbour


In June 2017 Win sold the observatory to Mike and Patricia Maxwell who aim to keep the buildings and observatory in good order.

More recently

The Maxwells had the primary mirror professionally resurfaced to a multilayer coating at 97% reflectivity by Wayne Sainty of Palmway Optical in Tuncurry. to ensure the continuing high performance of this large scope.

In 2020 the dome was professionally refurbished by Rieder Engineering ensuring it will be maintenance free for many years to come.


Win has graciously offered his knowledge and provided a few private viewings to guests since his departure.

As they say in the business…..……….…..….………..

           Clear Skies

                                      group t
                                                                         group c
 group n 



lounge 2

lounge 3




my office


Just a few images of the established grounds

ground 1

ground 2

ground 3

ground 4

Grounds 1

    grounds 2

ground 5

ground 5

ground 5

ground 5

intelligent life