Ventia marked the first groundbreaking activities associated with the construction of the SKA-Low telescope infrastructure in Western Australia.

The SKAO telescopes will be the largest and most advanced radio telescopes on Earth, being constructed in Western Australia and South Africa. 

The first terrain clearing earth work began at a section of the SKA-Low telescope's southern spiral arm at Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Radio-astronomy Observatory, in Western Australia. Optic fibre machines will begin trenching the terrain to lay the AARNET fibre link connecting the first array of low-frequency antennas to the super computers to be located at the Science Processing Centre in Perth.  

The SKAO is an intergovernmental organisation, supported by 16 countries across the globe, that will build and operate cutting-edge radio telescopes to transform our understanding of the Universe. SKAO is building the world's largest and most advanced radio telescopes: SKA-Low on Wajarri Country in Western Australia and SKA-Mid in the Karoo in South Africa. 

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at second machine site. From left to right are Ross McPherson, Amit Patel, Angus Anderson and Peter Green from Ventia, Gavin Egan (Wajarri Holdings), and Marc Weeks and Brett McMullan (Ventia).


The SKA-Low telescope will comprise an array of 131,072 'Christmas tree-shaped' antennas, grouped in 512 stations, each with 256 antennas. The antenna stations will span out along three spiral arms, each stretching up to 74 kilometres end to end. 

"This is a very significant milestone in what is one of the largest global scientific endeavours in history," said Mark Ralston, Ventia's Group Executive - Telecommunications. "Ventia, the SKAO and our regional and indigenous partners have made great progress on this exciting project.'

As we redefine service excellence, this project is also a great example of leveraging our telecommunications capabilities into exciting new markets like Space and Defence.

Team photo of machine crews together with Ventia, SKA Observatory and other guests


The nearby universe 

With the support of the SKAO, members of the Wajarri community, SKAO partners and contractors, Ventia marked the important construction milestone in a ceremony on 6 September 2023.   

Ventia secured a contract with the SKAO in December 2022 valued at approximately $200 million over three years, for the provision of power and fibre networks as well as the design and commission of Central and Remote Processing Facilities at the Western Australian site.  

Construction Commencement Ceremonies were held at the telescope sites in Australia and South Africa on 5 December 2022, heralding the start of on-site construction activities for the Observatory.

The Wajarri Yamaji are the Traditional Owners and native title holders of the observatory site where the SKA-Low telescope is being built. Through the project, Ventia aims to create new employment opportunities for the Wajarri Yamaji people and locals.

Fly Camp from above

Top image: Milestone ceremony at Boordalla Well