Dr Toner Stevenson researchers the history of astronomy. Image Credit: CSIRO Publishing.
The first Australian woman whose total solar eclipse observations were officially reported was Annie Louisa Virginia Dodwell. She had a Bachelor of Science from the University of Adelaide and gained astronomy knowledge working with her husband George Dodwell, the South Australian Government Astronomer.
Together, they organised the Adelaide Observatory expedition to Bruny Island in Tasmania for the 1910 total solar eclipse. The party arrived by ship and for a month they camped in tents in almost constant rain to prepare. The eclipse day was clouded, nonetheless Annie successfully recorded the change in temperature, the only science of value that was achieved.
In the following years she presented talks about astronomy, published poems and participated in the inaugural International Astronomical Union assembly at the Vatican Observatory in 1922. She arranged the logistics for her husband’s total solar eclipse expedition later that year, during which she transcribed his observations to the newspapers.