Fred Watson, in a wide-ranging talk about things astronomical, showed his audience an illustration from a 1950s comic, with a rocket about to be fired and a man’s life about to be changed as a result.
The audience loved him...Mike Chirgwin
“He said, ‘that’s what inspired me’,” said Blackheath Rotary president Andrew Hancock, of the noted astronomer.
Professor Watson donated his time for the night in a fundraiser to return the rocket to Blackheath playground.
Local Mike Chirgwin was one of several hundred in the audience.
“He’s a born storyteller,” Mr Chirgwin said.
Professor Watson told of his very first visit to Blackheath when he limped in in a damaged car after hitting a kangaroo in Lithgow.
When the car caught fire on the highway, the nearby Fire and Rescue crew jumped into action to put out the flames, after which the professor retired to the pub for something hot and strong.
Professor Watson took the audience on a trip through the solar system, confessing his love for Saturn, and an even greater affection for the moon.
“The audience loved him,” Mr Chirgwin said, “they just lapped it up.”
Blackheath Rotary is still seeking donations for the rocket project. To help, go to www.rotaryclubofblackheath.com.au.