The Southern Cross
The Southern Cross (Crux) is the best known and most represented star group in the Southern Hemisphere. The group's distinctive shape is easily located because of its brightness and close proximity to each other. It can be seen all year round from almost anywhere in the Australia. As a southern circumpolar constellation, it is not visible in the northern hemisphere.
The Southern Cross contains four bright stars so situated that they depict the extremities of a Latin cross. Thousands of years ago these four stars were an object of reverence in the Near East. In the Biblical days they were just visible at the horizon. It was last seen from the latitude of Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion of Christ. But despite its visibility to the ancient civilisations of the northern hemisphere, no Greek or Roman myths or legends are associated with it. Today it is no longer visible at latitudes north of 25 degrees.
The constellation was again discovered in the early sixteenth century by European navigators and explorers who used it to steer by and also to calculate the time of day. The Australian Aborigines have many stories to tell using the stars of the Southern Cross, and those from Central Australia see it not as a cross, but as an eagle's footprint. Had the Christian Cross not been associated with it, we might see it today as a kite with a tail, fluttering across the night sky.
Sitting on top of a 4 metre high boulder, the goddess of the Southern Cross reaches up to catch the cross between her hands as it passes overhead.
The figure will be 3 metres from the tip of her hair to the tip of her fingers and be made of cast aluminium, which can be seen at night and also by day from the passing highway.
The sculptor is Joan Relke, a local Uralla artist, and her works can be seen on her website.
Visible in the southern skies
The Southern Cross can be seen in the ideal position at the following times:
January 1st 5:00 am
February 1st 3:00 am
March 1st 1:00 am
April 1st 12:00 am
May 1st 10:00 pm
June 1st 8:00 pm
July 1st 6:00 pm
August not visible
September not visible
October not visible
November not visible
December not visible