Historical Records of Australian Science Historical Records of Australian Science Society
The history of science, pure and applied, in Australia, New Zealand and the southwest Pacific

The Proctor-Parkes Incident: Politics, Protestants and Popular Astronomy in Australia in 1880

Martin Bush

Historical Records of Australian Science 28(1) 26 - 36
Published: 08 May 2017


Henry Parkes' intervention to placate the Sabbatarian movement and prevent British astronomer Richard Proctor from delivering an astronomical lecture on Sunday 5 September 1880 created a major controversy in the Australian colonies. Controversy had been central to much of Proctor's success, and in this case drew on a long-standing connection between astronomy and religion. An examination of the Proctor-Parkes incident shows how popular science works in culture by drawing on and sustaining the analogical connections between scientific ideas and broader cultural concerns.


© Australian Academy of Science 2017

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