Wallal Centenary Celebration

UWA Wallal Expedition Centenary


Australia Tests Einstein

20 September – 2 October 2022

In September 2022, The University of Western Australia (UWA) celebrated the centenary of the Wallal eclipse expedition, a heroic effort involving astronomers, filmmakers, aviators, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and the Indigenous Nyungumarta people who welcomed the group to their land.

Instigated by UWA Professor Alexander Ross, the expedition proved Einstein’s theory of relativity, changed our understanding of space, time and gravity, and showcased Western Australia as a significant player in world science. This set the stage for Australian participation in recent discoveries of black holes and neutron stars crashing together and making the most powerful explosions that send gravitational waves echoing across the universe.

The expedition is a story of science, sailing ships, surf and donkeys, and innovative ideas that changed how we think. Hosted in the Undercroft of UWA’s iconic Winthrop Hall, scientists, a renowned WA artist, and educators have created an exhibition that takes you on a journey that starts in Wallal and finishes with the astonishing discoveries of black holes all over the universe.

The two-week centenary celebrations featured a range of events and activities, including:

Science, art, history exhibition with something for everyone and all ages, including:

    • The story of the Wallal expedition in words, pictures and a ten-minute movie
    • Drawing in Space and the Germ Series, a stunning exhibition of science-inspired sculptures by renowned artist Mark Grey-Smith
    • First chance to see the Royal Australian Mint’s Wallal Centenary commemorative coin
    • Discover black holes and the new science of gravitational wave astronomy
    • Snap a black hole selfie
    • Interactive activities for students to discover gravity and Einstein’s universe suited for all ages
    • Take a tour of a black hole in virtual reality

Free educational talks and workshops customised for students in school years 3 – 12

Public lectures


For more information about the Celebration please see the Media tab.