The Antikythera Mechanism on Display at WA Museum Boola Bardip, Credit WA Museum Bec Weldon
The story behind what is believed to be the first mechanical computer and a Western Australian engineer’s six-year journey to reconstruct it, have been revealed at the Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip’s new Reconstructing the Antikythera Mechanism exhibition.
Created in ancient Greece around 200 BCE, the Antikythera Mechanism is a sophisticated astronomical calculator that integrated several mathematical calculations based on observations by early astronomers from ancient cultures including the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Greeks.
In 2022, Western Australian engineer, Dr Nick Andronis constructed a highly accurate working bronze replica. It is the first known replica based on the most recent research and digital reconstructions.
Dr Andronis said what started as the desire to know how the mechanism operates, turned into a six-year journey to design and build one wooden and two bronze replicas – all of which are on display.
“The mysterious and brilliant ancient Greeks are a lot cleverer than I first imagined,” he said.
“The Antikythera Mechanism is not just the world's first computer and portable planetarium, but it is also a bronze history book of ancient Greek astronomy, mathematics, science, engineering and technology.”
The Antikythera Mechanism consists of an estimated 69 gears, which each perform complex mathematical calculations to predict the location of the sun, moon, and planets.
82 fragments of the original Antikythera mechanism National Archaeological Museu
82 fragments of the original Antikythera mechanism National Archaeological Museum, Athens, inv no.15087 © Photos National Archaeological Museum, Athens HELLENIC MINISTRY OF CURTURE AND SPORT
Image copyright WA Museum 
Lost at sea for almost 2,000 years, fragments of the original Antikythera Mechanism were discovered in a shipwreck off the coast of Antikythera in 1900 – and are currently housed at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece.
Consul of Greece in Perth, Georgia Karasiotou said having the Antikythera Mechanism replica on display at the WA Museum was a proud moment for Greece.
“It makes us proud that a Greek-Australian of WA, Dr Nick Andronis, has constructed and made available to the Museum a very carefully reproduced working replica of the Mechanism,” she said.
“The timing could not be better, in view of the total solar eclipse in Exmouth this coming April.”
The Reconstructing the Antikythera Mechanism exhibition will be on display from 25 March 2023 at the Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip.
More information here.