Degree Name

Master of Arts (Hons.)


Department of Science and Technology Studies


This thesis examines the establishment of the Anglo-Australian Telescope as a case study in Australian science policy. An historical overview of Australian astronomy is developed, followed by an historical account of the telescope project. The latter forms the major part of the work. Attention is paid to the arguments put forward by the astronomical community to justify funding. The role of the Australian Academy of Science as an elite science institution in the decision making process is examined. Also considered is the impact in the 1960s of emerging government science policy machinery. The entrenchment of a high civilisation principle used to rationalise the professional activities of astronomers is also investigated. Conclusions are drawn about the complex nature of decision making processes, how decision making in science was affected by a changing context of science policy formation, and the likelihood of a joint astronomy project being undertaken in Australia in the 1980s.