Native-born John Tebbutt has his name written on the moon alongside famous thinkers like Copernicus, Pythagorus and Tycho Brahe, but in all his eighty years he hardly moved more than a few miles out of the Hawksbury District near Sydney. Born in 1834 and growing up on farm near Windsor, the young lad found joy looking into the star-filled Southern skies at night.
At school, his mind was set toward the heavens by his teachers – all men of intelligent Christian faith. A passion for astronomy was lit in his five-year-old heart by Edward Quaife, the long-term teacher at the local Anglican parish school. At nine years old, he went to the nearby Presbyterian school to learn from Rev Matthew Adam, a sturdy Scot who worked as a missionary among seamen in Port Jackson.
John’s teenage years were spent with Henry Stiles, an evangelical clergyman chosen to come to Australia specifically for his ability to train young people. This classical scholar taught him Latin and the higher mathematics he needed to sustain his longing to unravel the mysteries of the heavens. John finished his education aged 15 and went to work on his father’s farm. In his spare time, he worked on improving methods of farming and learning German and French.
Join The Outback Historian, Paul Roe, on an unforgettable journey into Australia's Past as he follows the footprints of the Master Storyteller and uncovers unknown treasures of the nation.