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Did you know some of the most significant astronomical discoveries were made at Potts Hill?
The suburb’s former Astronomy Hut was the second home of Ruby Payne-Scott, a pioneer in radiophysics and astronomy who was the first female radio astronomer in the world. She was also the first to discover black holes at the centre of our galaxy and to map them.
Ms Payne-Scott was lost to science in 1951 when she left her position with the CSIRO, to have her first child. This had followed an eight-year battle to retain her job, under then public service rules, after she married in 1944.
Mayor Khal Asfour said Ms Payne-Scott’s story is part of Canterbury-Bankstown’s rich history.
"This is the place where interesting happens," he said.
"Ruby’s story is an inspiration to not only women but all of us."
Throughout October and November, Bankstown Arts Centre will pay tribute to Ms Payne-Scott, through the exhibition, Camouflage, which sees three artists representing women’s experiences, stories and voices that have been hidden, concealed or obscured from history.
The exhibition is a result of a two-month residency at the Incubate Artist Studios – a new pop-up space housed in the former Women’s Rest Centre, Bankstown. The artists, Deborah Kelly, Cigdem Aydemir and My Le Thi used multiple stories of local women, who are rarely heard, acknowledged or celebrated as inspiration for their works.
Ms Aydemir, who produced a video installation for the exhibition, said her fascination and curiosity of Ms Payne-Scott is what drew her in.
"You would never think a world-renowned scientist worked out of Bankstown. We’re not taught that at school," Ms Aydemir said.
"For me, it was making Ruby visible when so much of her story was, or is still, largely invisible. Her figure isn’t as well-known as many of the other male scientists in her time, because she was a female, married and was a mother.
"I have produced a video which is a recreation of Ruby and her ghostly presence at Potts Hill, moving through the area doing things she might have done, like working with chicken wire and writing notes. It’s complemented by a backing track of a clarinet being played in a tunnel to represent the current site, which is now owned by Sydney Water."
For more information on this exhibition, go to cb.city/artscentre
16/10/2018 12:34 PM