Dark night sky an asset for Narrogin

Published on Monday, 12 October 2020 at 3:46:43 PM

The Night Sky over Yilliminning Rock. Image credit: Reddit user u/IAmYoda 

“People now travel to see a dark night sky just as they travel to see other icons such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon Rainforest, or Antarctica. A dark night sky has become a rarity and cannot be seen everywhere”. Narrogin Tourism Strategy 2019.

The Shire will be working on an exciting project over the next two years with Carol Redford, founder of Astrotourism WA to put Narrogin on the map as an Astrotourism Town. In 2018 Astrotourism WA initiated the Astrotourism Towns Project in Western Australia.

Carol sees WA as perfectly placed to become the stargazing capital of the world which can grow a strong Astrotourism economy. WA has many comparative advantages that make it an ideal destination to access a pristine dark night sky where the Milky Way Galaxy can be seen in its true and original form. Increasing artificial light pollution across Earth has quickly reduced humanity’s ability to see the stars. The ever increasing artificial light that spills up into the night sky, means we see less stars. More than 80 percent of the world’s population live under a light polluted sky and as a result, the Milky Way is hidden from more than one third of humanity. WA’s Wheatbelt and the mid-West have optimal weather conditions and low light pollution which are perfect for stargazing and astronomy related activities.

Carol’s Astrotourism Towns Project is empowering regional communities to capitalise on WA’s world-class dark night sky. Currently, there is a network of fifteen Astrotourism Towns in the State which are all promoted as ideal destinations for stargazing, astrophotography and astronomy related activities. Narrogin will soon be another town on that map.

Shire of Narrogin President Leigh Ballard noted “There are both economic and community benefits to being an Astrotourism Town. Significantly, from an economic standpoint, dark-sky tourism necessitates one or more overnight stays thereby increasing visitor spending in local economies”. The Shire’s Manager Community Leisure & Culture added “Other benefits include that astrotourism is an all-year-round activity with its events and activities being child/family friendly and taking place in a non-sporting alcohol-free environment, communities become interested and engaged with astronomy concepts and local visitor service providers have an opportunity to learn new skills in the tourism sector”.

Further information on this media release may be obtained by contacting Susan Guy Manager Community Leisure & Culture, enquiries@narrogin.wa.gov.au or telephone 08 9890 0900.

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