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2008/109/1 Medal, David Malin Award, with case, copper / felt / plastic / cardboard, made by G A Miller Metal Industries, Rydalmere, New South Wales, Australia, awarded to Geoffrey Wyatt, Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 2004. Click to enlarge.

David Malin Award medal

The medal recognises outstanding work in the field of amateur astro-photography and is named after David Malin, one of the world's leading professional astro-photographers.

The medal was awarded to a member of the Museum's staff and it exemplifies the high quality of the photographic work undertaken at Sydney Observatory during the 2004 transit of Venus. The transit of Venus phenomenon has had important historical, scientific, and cultural links to Sydney Observatory, especially to the work of Henry Chamberlain Russell with the 1874 transit. It also continues the tradition of astronomical photography at Sydney Observatory begun by Russell in the 1870s.

The 2004 David Malin Award was one of the inaugural awards provided by the Central West Astronomical Society in their annual photography competion. The best of the photographs from this competion are now toured each year under the organisation of the Powerhouse Museum.

Des Barrett
March 2008


Object No.


Object Statement

Medal, David Malin Award, with case, copper / felt / plastic / cardboard, made by G A Miller Metal Industries, Rydalmere, New South Wales, Australia, awarded to Geoffrey Wyatt, Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 2004

Physical Description

Medal, David Malin Award, with case, copper / felt / plastic / cardboard, made by G A Miller Metal Industries, Rydalmere, New South Wales, Australia, awarded to Geoffrey Wyatt, Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 2004

On the obverse of the medal is engraved: 'CWAS AstroFest [sic] 2004 / The David Malin Awards / 1st Prize, Geoffrey Wyatt'. The wording is surrounded by a circle of dot-like indentations that are located on the circumference of the medal. On the reverse of the medal, 'Parkes Shire Council' is engraved on the circumference and there is also a portrait of Sir Henry Parkes (1815-1896), an illustration of the elevation of the Parkes Radiotelescope, stars, and other (unknown) celestial phenomena.

The medal is housed in a felt-lined, navy blue/black, presentation case. The case is single hinged and opens to an angle of 90 degrees. The case can be slipped into a white cardboard, open-ended cover box. The words, '1st Prize, David Malin Awards', are written in black ink on the outside of the box.


The words, '1st Prize, David Malin Awards', are written in black ink on the outside of the box.



5 mm



The medal was fabricated by G. A. Miller Metal Industries, Sydney. The medal was formed from a 4mm copper blank and given its antique bronze colour by being dipped into an oxidising agent.

Swedishman Gustav Miller established a badge and medallion business in Pitt Street, Sydney, in 1900. The firm was called Miller and Morris. In 1910, Miller moved the business to Goulburn Street, Sydney, and renamed it G. A. Miller and Sons. The firm moved to Rydalmere in 1972, where it continues to the present day. The firm makes a wide range of products including badges, keyrings, jewellery, medallions, plaques, button badges, banners and pennants.



The medal is named after Dr David Malin who is regarded as one of the world's leading astro-photographers. David Malin was born in England in 1941 and trained originally as a chemist and worked as a microscopist. He moved to Sydney in 1975 and joined the team at the Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO) [see below for further detail]. While working at the AAO, Malin used photographic plates with hypersensitised emulsions, and he developed processing techniques that enabled him and other astronomers to identify very faint astronomical objects that were normally obscured by their brighter surroundings.

Malin has produced astronomical images that highlight previously unnoticed characteristics of deep-space objects such as low surface brightness galaxies. His colour images are internationally known through books and other publications including record covers and stamps and they have captured the popular imagination of the broader community with their beauty and dramatic presence. Malin was acknowledged for his contribution to astro-photography, when in September 2000 he received the Lennart Nilsson Award. He retired from the AAO in 2001 and is active in presenting lectures and exhibitions on astro-photography.

The Anglo-Australian Observatory (AA0) and Anglo-Australia Telescope (AAT)
The original charter for the AAO, provided for world-class optical and infrared facilities for British and Australian astronomers. The Anglo-Australian Telescope Board, is an independent, bi-national authority funded by the governments of Australia and the United Kingdom.

The Board's facilities consist of the 3.9 metre Anglo-Australia Telescope (AAT) and the 1.2 metre UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST). The Observatory and facilities are located on Siding Spring Mountain, Coonabarabran, New South Wales with the headquarters on the same grounds as the CSIRO's Division of Radiophysics, Epping, New South Wales. The Observatory came into operation on 16 October 1974.

Important instrumentation and research features of the AAT include:

(1) It was the first large optical telescope designed to use a computer for all its operations (for example, focusing, control of the dome and windscreen), and not just for the instrumentation.

(2) The telescope's control system performs a wide range of scanning movements.

(3) The Image Dissector Scanner allowed for taking the spectra of faint astronomical objects.

(4) The incorporation of a Cassegrain spectrograph, an infrared grating spectrometer, a faint-object red spectrograph, a Cloudé Echelle spectrograph, a Bokensberg Image Photon Counting System, and an Infrared Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS).

(5) The discovery of explosive jets in the Orion Nebula (1993).

(6) The monitoring of the evolution of supernova SN1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

(7) The discovery, in 1977, of the second optical pulsar to be recorded.

(8) The investigation of quasi-stellar objects (quasars).

(9) Investigations concerned with the evolution of the universe, especially in regard to the increase of the number of hydrogen absorption lines in the red shift of the electromagnetic spectrum.

(10) Studies in the formation of stars.

(11) The 2dF galaxy and quasar redshift surveys that were completed in 2002.

AstroFest and the David Malin Award
In July 2004, the Central West Astronomical Society (CWAS) held their inaugural Festival of Astronomy (AstroFest). There was a two-day conference and a month-long program of associated events. The idea of AstroFest was to encourage and promote astronomy in the central west region of New South Wales. The area is home to the Parkes Radio Astronomy Observatory and the famous 64m Parkes Radio Telescope (and the less well featured 18m telescope). This facility was the first of its kind to be established in the Southern Hemisphere. The Parkes Radio Telescope was launched by the Governor General, the Rt. Hon. William Philip Sidney De L'Isle on 31 October 1961.

Sydney Observatory was represented at the inaugural AstroFest with Andrew Constantine and Allan Kreuiter touring the Observatory's Astronomy PowerPak exhibit, and the award of the inaugural David Malin Award for amateur astro-photography to Geoffrey Wyatt, for his photograph of the 2004 transit of Venus.

(The curator acknowledges the assistance of Dr Nick Lomb, Sydney Observatory, Geoff Wyatt, Sydney Observatory, and John Sarkissian, CSIRO, Parkes Radio Observatory, ATNF, in the preparation of this acquisition).


Credit Line

Gift of Geoff Wyatt, 2008

Acquisition Date

26 May 2008

Cite this Object


David Malin Award medal 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 November 2020, <>


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