Townsend Observatory, owned and administered by the University of Canterbury, was part of the Arts Centre of Christchurch, New Zealand and was open on clear Friday evenings. The building collapsed in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
James Townsend was one of the Canterbury Pilgrims, having arrived on the Cressy in December 1850. In his retirement, he lived on Park Terrace, just north of the site of the Canterbury College. In 1891, he gifted his equatorial telescope to the college, as he wished to make it available to the community. Townsend's telescope was built by Thomas Cook & Son in 1864.
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