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Starstruck idea for an astronomical platform is out of this world

This country village could become premium tourist destination

by Susanna Freymark, 03/24/2021, 2 min read

Susanna Freymark

THE star-gazing project at Mallanganee Lookout is exciting and ambitious.

With expansive views across the Richmond Range, Mallanganee National Park and Hogarth Range Nature Reserve, the under-used lookout has the potential to attract thousands of visitors – the star-gazing kind.

Kyogle councillor Earle Grundy said at the Visions of the Villages meetings a few years ago there was discussion about an upgrade to facilities at the Mallanganee Lookout. Kyogle Council looked at options and engaged a consultant to come up with a concept.

Council staff came and looked at the dilapidated lookout. They workshopped it then staff member Chris White enlisted consultants from the design company Terroir. The result is a spectacular concept design.

SPACED OUT: An artist’s impression of the star-gazing sphere proposed for the lookout.

“The consultant realised that the lookout was in a unique position of latitude and longitude and came up with an idea that meant the lookout could be used to look at the sky as well as the land,” Mr Grundy said.

The view from the lookout takes in the mountains north, south, east and west.

Mallanganee & District Progress Association member Greg Baker said most people didn’t know about the astronomical value of the lookout.

“This is a good area for winter observation because the sky is so clear,” he said.

“There is no visible light pollution.”

Greg knows his stars and has his own telescope.

You can see four galaxies from up here, he said at the lookout.

Resident Greg Baker sets up a telescope at Mallanganee Lookout. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Mr Grundy said the next step would be community engagement which will start in the near future.

“Hopefully, (the idea) will attract astronomical and astrological interest,” he said.

“We also hope that the area will become a jump-off point for trekking, cycling and horse riding along Cambridge Plateau through to Bonalbo, Toonumbar Dam and Woodenbong – all of which can be accessed from the lookout through the national parks in the area.”

The turnoff out of Mallanganee Lookout onto the Bruxner Highway is dangerous and will be considered in the plans. As will parking at the lookout and a walkway over the highway to another platform.

It is terribly ambitious, but if it gets a tick from the community and the funding comes in, Mallanganee will have an asset like no other place in Australia.