An astronomical event, the
transit of Venus at Tahiti in 1769, led to the discovery of Eastern Australia
by Captain James Cook and its colonization by the English in 1788. Beginning
that very first year, an observatory was erected, and ever since, Australia has
played significant roles throughout the history of astronomy. Now the modern
optical observatories at Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring have become important
and friendly centers for international cooperation in research. In modern radio
astronomy, Australia has been an outstanding pioneer.