Phillip Richards turns trigonometry into a sunny landmark
A former schoolteacher who spent 10 years teaching maths has used his trigonometry skills to design the only analemmatic dial in Queensland.
Yandina resident Phillip Richards said the sundial of human involvement that he designed in Teatree Park was invented by a French mathematician in the 1640s.
"There are very few of these in Australia - one in the Botanic Gardens near Sydney and one in Torquay Victoria," he said.
"We believe the Yandina sundial is the only one of its type in Queensland.
"I've had an interest in sundials for a long time and have built some at home."
The Yandina Sundial works by a person standing at a marked position and reading the time from their shadow.
It is 8m wide and is a stone ellipse that curves east to west with numbers marking the hours from 6am to 6pm.
There is a path of a marked stainless steel plate stretching northward, which is marked with the months showing where to stand depending on the time of year.
Mr Richards said this type of dial could be created by diagramming but it was better to use maths.
"It is just a question of trigonometry," he said.
"However it took quite a long time because I had to double and triple check to ensure I was right and then I had to adjust for Eastern Standard Time.
"But really knowing where the angles would go came fairly quickly."
Although the maths was an easy task for Mr Richards, figuring out how the dial would be built took a long time.
"There were many designs, some being too expensive and in the end it took about four years from conception to opening," he said.
"Yandina And District Community Association, The Yandina & Distract Historical Society supplied seed money to enable an early design by Angus Chirnside of Palmwoods and the Chamber of Commerce strongly supported building the dial.
"The Yandina Sundial Project Committee was helped by a number of Sunshine Coast Council staff and with a partial grant from the council and a grant from the Community Benefits Fund the project was able to be completed in 2019 after having been stalled for some time."
Mr Richards said that creating the dial wasn't just a one-man band and that he was very pleased with the creation finally being in place.
"The community seem very happy that it has been built and proud that it is in Yandina, however many people have said that it needs to be better known," he said.
"It is a family friendly installation and children are able to understand the rotation of the earth and summer and winter and the change in the direction of shadows through the day."
The sundial can be found opposite the roundabout on the Yandina-Coolum Road, Teatree Park.
It was officially opened on May 4.