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Who's Who at the OzSky Star Safari?

The OzSky Star Safari is hosted by a group of volunteers affiliated with 3RF Australia (Three Rivers Foundation, Australia), a not-for-profit organisation based entirely on the generous assistance of a group of dedicated volunteers. To help you get to know each of your volunteer hosts a little better, a brief biography of our team of volunteers appears below.

The "Classic" OzSky Star Safaris (March/April) will usually have the full complement of our volunteer hosts available on-site, however the much smaller OzSky "Alumni" Star Safaris (September/October) will generally have only one or two volunteer hosts on-site due to the nature and size of those events.

 Lachlan MacDonald
Co-ordinator & Co-Founder of the OzSky Star Safaris
Volunteer Event Co-ordinator

Working for the NSW State Government during the day, Lachlan spends most of his spare time planning and coordinating the OzSky Star Safaris. Lachlan is also a proud recipient of the Astronomical Society of NSW's most prestigious award, “The McNiven Medal”. Lachlan has been co-ordinating these trips in their various forms since 1993.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Sharing the amazing Southern Skies with folks from the north, visual astronomy using large-aperture telescopes, showing off all the “WOW” objects (aka “Eye Candy”) in the Southern night sky, as well as dabbling in wide-field astrophotography and composing “NightScapes” when time permits.



 Tony Buckley
Co-Founder of the OzSky Star Safaris
On-site Volunteer

Prior to his much-earned retirement, Tony was appointed as a Commissioner in the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW, and was President of the Astronomical Society of NSW for 10 consecutive years. Tony has been the primary point of contact for countless numbers of astronomical visitors from abroad for well over 25 years, and continues to spend his time demonstrating to astronomers from the northern hemisphere what they have been missing out on in the South all this time. Tony has been co-ordinating these trips in their various forms since 1993.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Visual observing using BIG dobsonian telescopes and sharing the southern skies with folks from the north.



 John Bambury
On-site Volunteer & Visual "Eye Candy" Specialist

Finance Manager of Argyle Prestige Meats, an Australian-owned meat packing and export company on the South Coast of NSW, John has been a keen amateur astronomer for many years, and is a well-known and highly respected contributor to many of the online astronomy forums. John has been volunteering with these trips since April 2006.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Visual Astronomy with a specialty in "Eye Candy" objects.



 Andrew Murrell
On-site Volunteer & Deep Sky "Faint Fuzzy" Specialist

Running his own wedding and event photography business on the Central Coast of NSW, Andrew loves getting out to enjoy both astronomy and photography. Andrew is a former committee member of the Astronomical Society of NSW, and is well known in astronomy circles, particularly following his discovery of a faint planetary nebula which has since been confirmed and named “Murrell 1”. Andrew has been volunteering with these trips since June 2004.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Deep Sky Visual Astronomy with a specialty in "Faint Fuzzies" and "Horror Objects".



 Anne Adkins
On-site Volunteer & Star Party Specialist

Anne is very active in numerous non-profits in Texas USA and is also heavily involved in organizing the famous Texas Star Party. Anne has been volunteering with these trips since 2002, and co-coordinated the Deepest South Texas Star Safaris from 2004-2009, during which time she used her expertise to transform these events into a highly popular "must-do / Bucket List" event for amateur astronomers around the world, applying significant improvements and successfully marketing these events to the wider astronomical community across Texas and the USA.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Observational astronomy with aspirations towards further pursuits in astrophotography and sketching at the eyepiece.



 Gary Kopff
On-site Volunteer & Deep Sky + Argo-Navis Specialist

A fully qualified Electrical Engineer, Gary is the Managing Director and co-founder of Wildcard Innovations Pty Ltd and co-developer of the Argo Navis™ Digital Telescope Computer (DTC). Gary is a proud recipient of the Astronomical Society of NSW's most prestigious award, “The McNiven Medal”. Gary has been volunteering with these trips since June 2004.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Deep Sky observing and development of the Argo Navis™ Digital Telescope Computer (DTC).



 Donna Burton
Volunteer & Local Outreach Specialist

Donna runs her own astronomy business in Coonabarabran (The Astronomy Capital of Australia) after many years working for one of the world's most respected observatories. A flying instructor, passionate amateur astronomer, and post-graduate student at the University of Southern Queensland, Donna is also a keen sidewalk astronomer and is the Australian representative for the global astronomy community, “Astronomers Without Borders”. Donna has been volunteering with these trips since March 2013.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Comet Hunting, Sidewalk Astronomy, Extra-Solar Planets and "Spotty Stars".



 David Batagol
On-site Volunteer & Planetary Specialist

A Doctor, and father of five, David has been a keen amateur astronomer since his early teens. He built his first telescope at the age of 16, and currently operates a 12½" reflector which he built in 2012. Other random interests include guitar, karaoke, aviation, and anything radio-control, but particularly radio-control submarines and ships. David has been volunteering with these trips since April 2014.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Planetary observing with a general love for all astronomy.



 Matt Bielski
On-site Volunteer & Deep Sky Specialist

Hailing from Niles, Michigan, Matt owns and runs a mechanical contracting business and is a grandfather of six. Non-astronomical interests include sunset and landscape photography. His favourite telescope is a very portable 22" ƒ/4 Ultra-Compact Obsession. Matt is a member of the Michiana Astronomical Society and Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. Matt will be volunteering with OzSky starting in March 2022.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Deep Sky Visual Astronomy and also enjoys challenge lists like the Herschel 2500 list (only 400 remaining), Herschel I, Herschel II and Herschel III lists.



 Matt Saarikko
On-site Volunteer & Lunar/Planetary Specialist

Matt is a retired Federal Police Officer and a builder in a previous life. His favourite telescope is an 18" ƒ/3.5 Dobsonian. Matt is a member of the Canberra Astronomical Society and the Central West Astronomical Society, and is currently in training as an OzSky Volunteer starting in March 2022.

Primary Astronomical Interests: Outreach Astronomy, Visual Lunar & Planetary views, Globular Clusters, telescope building and restoration.



Register Now to secure your place at one of these unique OzSky Star Safaris.


OzSky "Alumni" Star Safari (read more...)

Can't make it to the "Classic" OzSky Star Safari in March/April? - Or have you already been to several "Classic" OzSky Star Safaris and you're now looking for a different time of year to explore the other half of the Southern night skies?

Why not consider an OzSky "Alumni" Star Safari for your next observing trip!