The Shoalhaven Astronomers was started by a group of local amateur astronomers who felt there was enough interest in astronomy to maintain a monthly meeting where they could share information and enjoy the company of like minded people.
In 1991 the first meetings were in the homes of the members until moving to Vincentia Public School, and then Falls Creek Primary School made their meeting hall available for the group. This provided space for a library cupboard and the playground for observing. Unfortunately the conditions at Falls Creek for observing was hindered by dew and mosquitoes and a new site was found at the nearby Navel base. The local Nowra Hill Primary school was approached and the club relocated to a new venue. Whilst the viewing was improved, the small class room with small desks and chairs was better suitable for small people . Ensuing years saw development adjacent the viewing field, increasing light pollution via flood lights and the once perfect dark sky became an illuminated vista.
As the membership grew, the need to find a place that could provide the facilities for lectures and larger group meetings became apparent. The University of Wollongong’s Shoalhaven Campus had offered itself to the club on many occasions and was used for public meetings and lectures. After a trial period the club voted to move the club monthly meetings to the Campus as a permanent venue.
Although the membership varies from year to year, there is an average of 35 members of which 20+ attend meetings regularly. The active members also meet at different locations to find the perfect dark sky site.
The Shoalhaven Astronomers have two public viewing nights a year where the public are invited to attend and learn about the night sky. During the school holidays, the club sets up demonstrations in local caravan parks owned by the Shoalhaven City Council. Many visitors to these parks enjoy the opportunity to look through telescopes and see the planets and deep sky objects that would be difficult to find in the light polluted city sky.