– a vital museum service

Sydney Observatory is part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences also incorporating the Powerhouse Museum. More than 250 volunteers currently work at the Powerhouse Museum, the PowerhouseDiscovery Centre and Sydney Observatory. We value our volunteers, who play an important role in the life of the Museum. Volunteers actively involve the community in the mission and activities of the Museum. They bring vitality, interests, experience and skills to supporting the work of staff and they assist the Museum in maintaining its high standards of customer service.

There are two kinds of volunteer positions available at Sydney Observatory – Visitor Service volunteers and Behind the Scenes volunteers.

If you are interested in working with visitors, the duties of a Visitor Services volunteer may be suitable. Visitor Services Volunteers at Sydney Observatory meet and greet visitors and provide directions to facilities, conduct tours of the exhibition and site for visitors. Special Event volunteers are also recruited to act as explainers and provide customer service assistance for special events and temporary exhibitions.

Behind the Scenes volunteers assist paid staff in work that happens away from the public areas of the Museum in a variety of areas including collection research and curatorial assistance, registration or conservation (collection management), photography, exhibition development or design.

Volunteer benefits provided by the Museum
Along with the interesting and rewarding experience of working in the Museum, volunteers also receive:

  • 10% discount at the Powerhouse Museum shop
  • a weekly volunteers bulletin
  • one year’s free Museum membership after completing 100 hours of voluntary work (membership is issued in the January of the following year)
  • certificates of recognition after each year of service
  • badges recognising 5, 10, 15 and 20 years of service
  • a written reference where required and appropriate
  • recognition of participation in training
  • invitations to social outings and activities
  • access to the research library
  • participation in staff training courses run in-house, where places are available


Sydney Observatory, built in 1858, is Australia’s oldest existing observatory and one of the most significant sites in the nation’s scientific history. In 1982 Sydney Observatory came under the management of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. It is now a museum of astronomy and offers a range of educational programs in astronomy and science, which includes the solar system, the universe, space travel, and the history of astronomy.

We are looking for a School Rewards Volunteer

Role Description:
Sydney Observatory receives many requests for support form schools and community organisations. The policy has been to support all NSW schools ( High Schools, Primary schools, State and private schools) and the Starlight Foundation. This must be handled in an ethical and open way and recorded so that there is an auditable system.
The aim is to engage with schools who will then make a booking, or for their parents and friends to promote Sydney observatory as a great place to visit during school holidays or weekends. This system has been working well and the uptake of the complimentary tickets is high which means the message is reaching the schools. There are approximately 12-15 applications for support a month.
This is a feel good role. It provides direct contact with school fundraisers and an opportunity to say theMAAS is supportive of education for all schools.

Key Volunteer Tasks:
1 day per fortnight (10am – 2pm)
Based at Sydney Observatory
Read requests and make a decision
Phone the school or requester (or send an email)
Address the envelope correctly and include relevant information
Send out tickets with brochures and any forms in a professional manner
Keep a log of requests

Skills & Knowledge Required:
Professional manner
Good phone manner.
Tidy handwriting or ability to use word to produce addressed envelopes ( but neat handwriting is fine too!!!)
Follow procedures and use discretion
Ideally use email and a computer – not essential!
Follow a process from go to whoa

Application form (pdf)

Please send completed form to:
The Volunteer Program Coordinator
500 Harris St, Ultimo, NSW, 2042
Email: volunteercentre@phm.gov.au