The Murchison Radio-Astronomy Observatory (MRO)

Fieldwork Coordinator

For any questions regarding the following content, please don't hesitate to contact:

Andrew (Andy) McPhail 

(+61 8) 9266 9175, or 0432 603 948

Must-read information for first-time visitors

Travelling to site

Is this your first time heading to the remote Murchison region? Here's some handy info to help you prepare!

IMPORTANT: The Murchison Radio Observatory and surrounds are a ‘radio quiet zone’. There is no WiFi or wireless use allowed on site or at Boolardy accommodation. Please ensure that your laptops/tablets etc. can use WIRED internet, have WIRED keyboards, have WIRED mice etc. You can use your phone as long as it remains in flight mode.

Geraldton is the last chance to buy bits and pieces before heading to site for the week. From Monday morning to Friday afternoon, we survive only on what we’ve packed, and what is provided by CIRA and our accommodation. Occasionally the area can flood, sometimes severely enough for roads to be closed (usually to prevent road damage, but it's pretty dangerous to drive on as well). In the case that this does happen we could be in for an extended holiday either on site, or more likely at the accommodation precinct. At both these locations there exists provisions to keep us more than alive, but if you have any prescription medicines that need to be taken regularly, bringing at least an extra week's worth is advised. If you do take prescription medication and are arriving from overseas, please see the TGA website for more information about rules on what/how much medication you can bring into the country:

What you need to bring:

  • Comfortable clothing you don’t mind getting dirty. Long sleeves and full length pants are highly encouraged though not required. Shorts are acceptable provided they are made of durable material (e.g. not board shorts) with the requirement that sun exposure is limited by appropriate
    means (sunscreen, limiting time in the sun or working under sheltered assembly area). 

  • Sunglasses and a hat. We have only a limited supply of other PPE (safety sunglasses, fly nets, insect repellent, wide brim hats, gloves, knee supports), you are welcome and encouraged to bring your own.

  • The terrain, and animals that live within it, can easily rip through a cheap pair of sneakers and light clothing material. Durable fabric & sturdy enclosed shoes that cover the ankles, like hiking boots or similar, are recommended, since there is a good chance you’ll be doing a lot of walking on site. Steel Cap/Safety Cap boots are not required.

  • Any toiletries except soap (i.e. shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitiser, prescription medication). Soap (body wash) is provided by Boolardy though you may want to bring your own variety.

  • There are no female sanitary products available on site.  As with other supplies, please bring enough to last you for your scheduled site trip PLUS a week, just in case. The toilets on site are a short drive away from the MWA Site Office, and the toilet facilities are limited. Bringing small sanitary disposal bags is also recommended.

  • A camera. We love to take pictures and get them out to the world via social media, and they’re great for documentation purposes too!

Closer to the trip, you can check out for the predicted weather to get an idea of what we'll be in for, it can get reasonably cold in the ‘winter months’ (May-August) so a light jacket is recommended.

  • Torch for around the accommodation
  • A good book, music (typically you can plug a USB drive into the car audio)
  • Water
  • Assorted choice of soft drinks, teas and instant coffee

What Boolardy accommodation provides:

  • There are free laundry facilities including dryers, hangers with clothes pegs and laundry powder.
  • There is also a recreation room, which has things like a home theatre system (Netflix!), pool table, chess board, dart board etc.
  • Each room is a small, single occupancy ‘donga’ equipped with:
    • A bed, sheets, pillows (soft), pillow cases, a regular quilt, an extra thick blanket.
    • Small bar fridge for you to put your own items in (medication, drinks)
    • Reverse cycle air conditioner.
    • A wardrobe with small amount of hanging space, 2-3 coat hangers
    • A shower, toilet, washbasin, towels/wash cloths.
    • Hand soap, all in one (hair+body) gel.
    • A small desk with power points and a wired internet connection. The internet connection uses CSIRO's network (no login required) and is suitable for Skype, email & web browsing, but not major downloading. You are provided with the Ethernet cable; however, you may need the
      appropriate adapter if you do not have an RJ45 port on your device.
  • All meals are fully catered:
    • Breakfast (full or continental), at 6:30am.
    • Lunch. There is a ‘serve yourself’ lunch bar located at the end of the dining hall. Each morning fresh cold meats, salads, fruit, snacks, sandwich bread etc. is available for you to put together your own lunch in a takeaway container.
    • Dinner, at 6pm.
    • Unless you have specific dietary requirements (please tell us!) you should not need to bring any food. You are welcome to bring snacks for the car journey.
    • Drinking Water is provided from almost all of the taps, which will be pointed out to you upon arrival

What Wooleen accommodation provides:

  • Free laundry services arranged by the staff
  • Guests are given a unique log-in code per room and allocated 250mb peak data (7am - 1am) and 1 GB off-peak data (1am - 7am). You can expect speeds around 5mbps upload and 20mbps download. The Wi-Fi is only located in a key area in the central homestead. Not in the rooms
    themselves. By pure luck, some will find the range extends to their rooms but we tend to advise it's only available in the homestead atrium.
  • In the main homestead area there is a full-size billiards table, and as mentioned above, the Wi-Fi is best accessed from this area.
  • Homestead rooms have a high-ceiling, and are equipped with: A bed, sheets, pillows (soft), pillow cases, a regular quilt, an extra thick blanket, a wardrobe with small amount of hanging space, 2-3 coat hangers, electrical power outlets.
  • Shared shower and toilet facilities.
  • All meals are fully catered:
    • Breakfast (full or continental)
    • Lunch. "Make-your-own" from an assortment of fresh and packaged ingredients.
    • Snacks (biscuits or cake)
    • Dinner.
  • Unless you have specific dietary requirements (please tell us!) you should not need to bring any food. You are welcome to bring snacks for the car journey.
  • Drinking water is provided in the homestead / meals area ONLY. Most other taps (including those in the bathroom) the water is suitable only for washing / cleaning teeth, but should not be drunk.