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WA astronomer ‘Space Gandalf’ dies

A Western Australia astronomer who appeared alongside Professor Brian Cox in the BBC series Stargazing Live Australia has died at the age of 62.

Greg Quicke, affectionately known as Space Gandalf because of his long white beard, also starred in the 10-part ABC series A Stargazer’s Guide to the Cosmos and has written books.

However, he was best known in his home of Broome for his Astro Tour stargazing tours, which reportedly had welcomed 100,000 participants over the years.

Professor Cox posted on social media that he was “very sad” to learn Quicke had died.


“I love what he wrote on seeing the solar eclipse in 2023, ‘My body spent, my heart full, I crash into a deep eclipse fuelled communion with the other worlds,’” he wrote. “I hope that’s where he is now.”

Quicke’s family told the ABC in a statement that he was survived by a “legion of people whose lives he touched”.

“He brought the universe to us all and translated it into a language we all understood,” the statement said.

“He was watched by millions of people around the globe and carried out his life work with inspirational spirit and freedom.”


On his Astro Tours website, Quicke wrote, “I’ve had a few ‘ahaaa’ moments about lots of things in my life, just as I’m sure you have. I’ve been sharing a few of mine about our place in the universe with groups of people for a few years now.

“I love watching people’s eyes light up when they have a few ‘ahaas’ of their own, and this is what tends to happen when we come together under the stars at Astro Tours.

“On my way to making a living as an astronomer, I’ve had lots of fun just doing whatever the next thing seemed to be. I went from high school to James Cook University to do marine biology.

“I got bored fairly quickly with looking in microscopes so I quit and went pearl diving in Broome instead. That was fun, and I figured out how the tides work by watching the moon while I was at it. This was my first real astronomical step.

“I like figuring things out, and because I’ve always ridden motorcycles, I figured out how to keep them going. This ability extended fairly quickly into my next career as a mechanic fixing bikes, cars and trucks.

“I eventually ran my own business servicing Mack and Kenworth trucks, Harley Davidsons and heavy earthmoving gear. This work often took me out of Broome and into the wilder parts of the Kimberley region, where standard sleeping arrangements are a swag under the stars.

“The only roof available, and the only one needed for most of the year was the Milky Way. I didn’t know anything about stars when I started, although, like anybody else, I was easily blown away with wonder and awe at the incredibly beautiful starscapes of the Kimberley.”

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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