The iconic Shine Dome, home of the Australian Academy of Science, was officially reopened on Monday night by the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General the Hon David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and the Hon Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science, in the presence of the President of the Academy, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC PresAA FTSE.
The national heritage-listed Shine Dome was damaged in a severe hailstorm in January 2020, with massive damage to the copper-clad roof and skylights, exposing the building’s nationally significant scientific archives to the hail and rain. Significant works, including recladding of the copper roof, have restored the building and improved its longevity and energy efficiency.
Two years and five months after the hailstorm, Fellows of the Academy were invited to witness the official ceremony.
Addressing guests, General Hurley said the Shine Dome is “an iconic building – its architecture and design inspires and befits those who make a unique and valuable contribution to humanity”.
“Yet its real power comes from within – from its people. As elected Fellows of the Academy, you are amongst Australia’s best and brightest,” said General Hurley.
“Our nation relies on you, believes in you and is willing you to succeed.”
In his speech, Minister Husic said the Albanese government wanted to "rekindle the respect for the role of science in helping develop good policy".
Professor Jagadish said that the Academy is proud of the Shine Dome, “not only because it is the meeting place for Fellows, but because it is the home of science for all Australians”.
“As scientists, our efforts to make new discoveries, to share our knowledge and to see the never seen, is driven by a relentless quest to better your lives and to sustain this planet we all call home.”
The new copper roof of the Shine Dome contains 1888 custom-made tiles, with a time capsule containing Fellows’ messages to the future placed underneath the tiles at the peak.
To mark this historic event, the Academy has established the Celebrate Science Campaign.
Anyone can dedicate a virtual copper roof tile to an Australian scientist who has made a significant contribution to science, to a team of scientists who have contributed significantly to science, or to a school teacher who has made an impact on a scientist’s career.
The Shine Dome is available for hiring by small and large groups for private, corporate and public functions, with a range of venue spaces available.
The Shine Dome was built expressly for the Academy, designed by famous Australian architect Roy Grounds, and originally opened in 1959 by the Governor-General Sir William Slim. It was named Becker House in 1961, in recognition of a significant donation to the building costs by pastoralist Sir Jack Ellerton Becker.
Grounds said then that he “decided this building was going to be my portrait of them [the scientists] as I saw them, full of mystery, romance and intense intellectual exercises, at the same time”.
“I wanted a sense of enormously disciplined order, which is the way their minds work, and I wanted it to have a big emotional impact, because they are very emotional people. They’re intensely creative…”
In 2001, Becker House was renamed the Shine Dome, after major works were supported by a donation of $1 million from Academy Fellow and past president, Professor John Shine AC FAA FAHMS(Hon) FRS. It was included in the National Heritage List on 21 September 2005.
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