The Perth Observatory Volunteer Group (POVG) is an incorporated independent body that assists the Perth Observatory with its mission.
The volunteer program was established at the Perth Observatory in 1996 in order to provide opportunities for the public to become more involved in the Observatory’s activities. In 2002, the Perth Observatory Volunteer Group became incorporated in order to obtain funding from external sources to further their work. Currently POVG has about 80 active members and they make a significant contribution to the public outreach activities of Perth Observatory.
The activities and achievements of the group were formally recognised in 2001 with the award of $1,000 by the National Australia Bank CommunityLink Programme. Only 109 of the 2,703 nominations (Australia-wide) won awards, and the Perth Observatory Volunteer Group was the only Highly Recommended winner in the Recreation category.
They were also awarded a $3,600 International Year of the Volunteer grant from the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community in 2001.
Most notably, they were awarded a $15,000 grant from the Lotteries Commission Gordon Reid Fund in order to obtain equipment to assist with integration of disabled people into the Observatory’s star viewing program.
In 2009, the group was awarded $4,400 worth of funding for volunteer equipment and fuel subsidies.
Current Volunteer Projects
Current projects involve assisting staff with the public star viewing sessions by both hosting these sessions and operating telescopes, archiving and preserving historical documents, working in the library and assisting at open days and events. Recently, more emphasis has been placed on volunteers being involved in the Observatory’s day tour program; these cover both school and community groups.