The John Perdrix Address

Introduction

Many people consider John Louis Perdrix (1926-2005) to be the “father” of NACAA.

He created the convention's name for the 5th convention, held in Melbourne in 1972. He also created its pronunciation, which rhymes with "backer". He contributed in many other ways over the following decades: he presented papers at nearly every event, edited several editions of the proceedings, served on the local organising committees in both Melbourne (1972) and Perth (1984), and with a few helpers ran the 2000 NACAA in Fremantle.

John also presented the Astral Award medal for the best presentation at NACAA, a tradition that he started in 1986 and that still continues today.

John worked tirelessly for more than thirty years to improve the quality of NACAA, and tried to make it a truly national conference for serious amateur astronomy in Australia and beyond. He also played an important role in promoting excellence in the wider amateur astronomy community by publishing the Australian Journal of Astronomy and the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage.

John attended his last NACAA in Hobart in 2004, where he played an important role in the meetings that eventually led to the formation of NACAA Inc in 2007. He passed away in 2005, returning from an IAU meeting in Moscow.

The John Perdrix Address

Following John’s death, the newly formed NACAA Secretariat discussed creating a fitting memorial for John’s contributions to NACAA. It was eventually decided in 2009 to create the John Perdrix Address – an invited presentation at each NACAA by a distinguished amateur astronomer.

The Secretariat intends that the Address will recognise the contributions made by the speaker to NACAA and the amateur astronomical community in Australia. These are not limited to technical or observational contributions, which are recognised by other awards. They may also include such things as furthering the aims and objectives of NACAA, specific achievements, popularising astronomy in the community, organisational or creative contributions, etc.

The Selection Process

The Secretariat, in consultation with the Programme Committee chair, will draw up a short list of potential speakers six months prior to each NACAA. In choosing candidates, the Secretariat will consider his/her abilities to address a conference in a keynote situation, having regard to such things as previous history, speaking ability, and knowledge of subject, as well as the above criteria.

Each candidate will be approached in turn, and invited to present a talk on a theme suggested by the Secretariat, or of the candidate’s choosing. The content shall be related to astronomy generally, and should be of interest to the majority of the audience. The duration of the talk would normally be 60 minutes, with time for questions after, but may change depending on the requirements of the convention schedule.

Conclusion

The authors of this proposal hope that the Address will become a regular feature of the convention, and believe that there are many potential candidates that should be recognised in the future.

Stephen Russell, Ray Johnston, October 2009.