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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Ellery, Robert Lewis John

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Ellery, Robert Lewis John, C.M.G., F.R.S., F.R.A.S. (Government Astronomer of Victoria), is the son of the late John Ellery, of Cranleigh, Surrey, where he was born in July 1827. He was educated at the local grammar school, and subsequently adopted the medical profession. Astronomical researches, however, mainly occupied his attention; and after his arrival in Victoria, in 1851, he was employed by Mr. La Trobe to establish an observatory at Williamstown, near Melbourne. He assumed office on July 13th, 1853, and has since, under various titles, discharged the functions of Government astronomer. In 1858 he initiated a geodetic and trigonometrical survey of the colony. Five years later the observatory was removed from Williamstown to its present site in the Domain, Melbourne, and the meteorological and physical observatory, previously conducted by Professor Neumayer, was amalgamated with it under the control of Mr. Ellery. He was President of the Royal Society of Victoria for twenty years, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1873. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society since 1855, and is an honorary member of numerous foreign scientific societies. Mr. Ellery is also a member of the Council of the University of Melbourne, and one of the trustees of the Public Library. In 1873 Mr. Ellery assisted in organising the Torpedo and Signal Corps (now the Submarine Mining Engineers), and held the rank of lieutenant-colonel in connection therewith. In 1889 he was created C.M.G. His first wife died in 1856, three years after their marriage; and Mr. Ellery married secondly, in 1858, Margaret, daughter of John Shields, of Launceston, Tasmania.