Dr. John McGrath is a talented local photographer and astronomer with an insatiable passion for capturing and sharing the beauty of the cosmos and the wonders of the natural world.
He has dedicated his life to exploring remote mountain ranges, underwater reefs and the skies and merged this love of nature with photography. Through his lens, he skillfully captures celestial bodies and stunning landscapes, delivering awe-inspiring images that ignite a sense of wonder and curiosity.
Driven by a deep appreciation for the universe’s mysteries, Dr. John McGrath continues to inspire others with his captivating work, inviting us all to gaze at the stars and embrace the infinite beauty that surrounds us with his regular ‘Under the Stars’ Astronomy Tours held at Capricorn Caves.
Dr. John McGrath, in his own words, passionately shares the motivation behind his work and why he does what he does below.
“Understanding the scale and beauty of space and the universe is all about imagination. My imagination was sparked when I was only 8 or 9 years old by pictures and drawings of space objects and rocket launches in early astronomy books.
I also grew up in the rich era of science fiction movies of the early 80s with hungry aliens hunting down astronauts living on bases on the Moons of Saturn or Jupiter and various other planets. It’s no wonder as a kid I dreamed of being the first person to walk on Jupiter!
As a teenager, I was the youngest member by far of the Canberra Astronomical Society. I borrowed telescopes and scanned the skies with near frostbitten limbs at 3am on many cold -5C Canberra winter nights. I even did a course to operate the 1890 manufactured 9″ Oddie telescope at Mt Stromlo Observatory.
I fondly remember looking at Saturn in great detail through it. Sadly, it burnt down in the 2003 bushfires. Life then got in the way with both work and play, a PhD in vaccine development, lots of bushwalking and then kids and a mortgage. But I’ve never stopped looking at the stars and I’ve never forgotten learning the sky the hard way well before the internet.
As a crocodile tour guide for years, I jumped at the chance when the Capricorn Caves asked me to do some astronomy tours. Doing tours brings me back to my childhood and revealing the universe to people has refreshed in me that sense of wonder of the universe.
I’m back in love with astronomy again (thank you Capricorn Caves!) and that reflects in passionate and engaging tours. If people understand and appreciate the universe better, then they’re more likely to give thought to caring for our tiny blue dot a lot better. Space is too big and violent for us to go anywhere else.”
Capricorn Caves are truly fortunate to have the wonderful Dr. John McGrath leading the ‘Under the Stars’ Astronomy Tours. With his extensive knowledge and passion for the cosmos, Dr. McGrath brings a level of expertise and enthusiasm that elevates the entire experience.
His ability to captivate audiences with his engaging storytelling and deep understanding of astronomical phenomena is truly remarkable. Whether it’s unraveling the mysteries of distant galaxies or unveiling the wonders of our own solar system, Dr. McGrath’s ‘Under the Stars’ Astronomy Tours are both educational and awe-inspiring.
Check our website for the next available session but be sure to secure your spot as they book out fast!
The cave was amazing, the tour was worth every cent. This tour is suitable for everyone who can walk, and it offers access for those with mobility issues. There is... read more
It was just an amazing experience to have a guided tour through the cave system and learn about the formation and history of the caves. The cathedral part of the... read more
Terrific tour. Excellent guide (Hudson) really informative and friendly. Explorer experience was easy to manage. Highly recommended. Must book ahead. We saw a lot of people arriving with no booking... read more
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