Build an outback star deck

We need your help to raise funds to design and build an astronomy observatory, education centre and viewing platform in the South Australian Far North opal mining outpost of Andamooka.  Your contribution will bring the locals, tourists and visitors closer to the stars,  increase cultural literacy and kickstart our tourism industry.

Our Aim
We want to educate and create local jobs! Our project will upgrade Andamooka's tourism infrastructure and offerings.

Andamooka is an outback gem
Andamooka is one of Australia's last frontier opal mining settlements located in northern South Australia.

All who make the trek out to visit agree it's a town with heart and adventure. We want to attract more tourists and work with our community to build an amazing tourist attraction with heaps of educational and employment opportunities for our locals. 

What will the space be used for?
+ Education centre: local outback kids will get into science, read books, learn languages and love the night skies.
+ Develop and work in partnership with Aboriginal local bush food and art cottage industries
+ Provide tools and infrastructure for rangers and local tour guides

Why astronomy in the outback?
There is a massive global interest in the night skies, astrophotography, space, science, Aboriginal astronomy, sky phenomena, cosmic events, wildlife, wildflowers, birding, tiny homes, living off-grid, fossicking for dinosaur bones, fossils, opals and gold.

All of which can be found at the Andamooka Observatory.

Who is Andamooka Observatory?
We've recently bought a bit of land high on a hill in Andamooka and have been hosting star parties and community events from our humble building nestled in the mullock heaps. 

The community interest has been huge with many townspeople and tourists enjoying informal gatherings where we stargaze, learn about aboriginal skies and enjoy local bush tucker.

Here's the view from our yard. The night skies of Andamooka are incredible with zero light pollution. 

How will the funds be spent?
Your money will go towards the planning, design and construction of the Andamooka Observatory Star Deck. The deck will be used to attract tourists and host stargazing events. You're not just helping to build a platform - it's a foundation for the future. We'll use it to attract tourists, employ locals, educate youngsters and kick-start cottage industries.

We look forward to updating you on our progress. All reward levels of donation are hugely appreciated.


Fritz Magazine Article October 2018


When Conan Fahey spotted a story on the Fritz website about the cheap houses for sale in South Australia, cogs started turning.

"We open late at night and early in the morning for sky phenomena and cosmic events. We are using it as a base camp for our ‘opal miner for a day’ and nocturnal tours. Working with old mates, photographers and miners we regularly host, opal mining, astronomy and astrophotography presentations and sessions.”

“Our idea is to sell books to raise money to construct an astronomy observatory and viewing platform,” Conan says.

Read the full article at

'Outback & Opal' Show December 2018
SA's Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister David Ridgway introduced our initiatives at the 'Outback & Opal' Show held in Chinatown Adelaide in December 2018.

Johnny Tuckabox and SA's Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister David Ridgway introduce our initiatives to create jobs and upgrade Andamooka's tourism and community infrastructure.

Design Construct Field Trip to Andamooka November 2018
Students and staff from the Design Construct Program (The School of Art, Architecture and Design University of South Australia) conducted a site visit and attended workshops on 14th - 16th November 2018.

The Design Construct Program is UniSA's nation-leading, hands-on construction program offering project based learning experience to students of the School of Art, Architecture and Design. Running since 1993, it is one of the largest student construction programs in the world and has produced a number of remarkable buildings, many of which have won awards.

Thank you to Ben from the Monadelphous Group Limited, Margot and Peter from the Andamooka Dukes Bottlehouse Motel, JT and Anna from the Tuckabox Hotel and Richard and Bec from the Woomera Baker Observatory

BHP Billiton  surveyed the Andamooka Observatory November 2018

Jenna and Richard from BHP Billiton Olympic Dam recently surveyed the AO with a vehicle mounted Maptech I-Site Laser Scanner. The scans 3D visualisation data will help us manage the design and construction of the project. Thank you BHP Billiton!

The Andamooka Observatory Design & Construct Team site visit September 2018


The Andamooka Observatory Design & Construct Team conducted a site visit and workshop on 22nd - 23rd September 2018. Thank you to Anita from Alliance Airlines, Ben and Ellie from the Monadelphous Group Limited, Margot and Peter from the Andamooka Dukes Bottlehouse Motel, JT and Anna from the Tuckabox Hotel and the Andamooka Progress and Opal Miners Association Incorporated (APOMA) for supporting this initiative. Very much appreciated.

Delegates included:
Nick Tridente  Associate Government Architect
Office for Design and Architecture South Australia (ODASA)
Nick Tridente, past president of the Australian Institute of Architects South Australian chapter (2011-2013)
Nick is a highly respected member of the profession and the recipient of the Sir James Irwin President’s Medal in 2010, the highest award offered by the Institute within South Australia.
Passionate and vocal on issues such as the value of design and the development of South Australia.
Tridente Architects is a multi-award winning mid-sized, Adelaide-based multi-disciplinary practice, specialising in architecture, interior design, master planning and urban design.

Martin Murray George Street Studios

Established in 1998, George Street Studios is comprised of a unique group of award-winning designers, makers and artists working collectively and individually for private, commercial and public sector clients. Renowned for excellence in design and exceptional attention to detail, they work closely with clients and commissioners to produce original, high quality, bespoke products and solutions. Outcomes include high profile public art projects, urban street furniture and infrastructure, fine art, graphic design, product development and specialised one-off short product runs.…/meet-your-maker-george-street-stu…

Jake Shaw Design Construct Program
The School of Art, Architecture and Design
University of South Australia

The Design Construct Program is our nation-leading, hands-on construction program offering project based learning experience to students of the School of Art, Architecture and Design. Running since 1993, it is one of the largest student construction programs in the world and has produced a number of remarkable buildings, many of which have won awards.…/research-a…/design-and-construct/

Lachlan Forrest Construction Foreman

Watpac is a national construction, property development, and civil and mining services company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Monadelphous Careers sponsored the Anadmooka Observatory 

Monadelphous Careers sponsored the Andamooka Observatory for 5K! It's part of their celebrations of being in Roxby Downs for 30 years. They donated $30,000 to their Roxby employees’ favourite community groups and we were one of the lucky recipients. Much appreciated for helping us to bring the stars to Andamooka!


Dr Muhammad Akbar Hussain of the Southern Cross Outreach Observatory Project (SCOOP) brought his large portable telescope to Andamooka for National Science Week. He says "this is our second visit to the town and was extremely well received. The sky was pristine and offered great views of Sun through PK's solar telescope in the day time and planets and deep sky objects from observatory at night. The objects in focus for night time astronomy were Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. We also had brief view of crescent moon through the 8 inch dobs outside observatory.

People were mesmerized by the rings of Saturn and the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. Most people were able to identify the polar ice caps on Mars and some surface features. Later in the session, we also witnessed one of the Jovian moons passing in front of Jupiter."

Bec and Richard of Woomera Observatory were present too and greatly facilitated the viewing of globular cluster and other deep sky objects through the manual 8 inch dobsonian.

Here is a timelapse video by Travis Lonelyoak of the progress of viewing:

Public Astronomy and Astrophotography with Padraic Koen
Astronomer and Astrophotographer Padriac Koen visited us first in August 2017 as part of Andamooka Science Week Stargazing Sleep Over with the Southern Cross Outreach Observatory Project's mobile astronomical observatory. Padriac returned again to Andamooka doing public daytime solar and night time stellar and planetary viewing at the Andamooka Observatory.

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
    • $150 
    • 9 mos
  • Heather Gordon 
    • $100 
    • 12 mos
  • Monadelphous Group 
    • $5,000 
    • 14 mos
  • Mark Taylor 
    • $25 
    • 17 mos
  • Ben Preston 
    • $100 
    • 17 mos
See all


Conan Fahey 
Andamooka, SA
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