Skjellerup, John Francis
BornCobden, Victoria, (Australia), 16 May 1875
DiedMelbourne, Victoria, Australia, 6 February 1952
John Francis Skjellerup independently discovered or recovered eight comets, of which five bear his name. He was also a dedicated variable-star observer from both South Africa and Australia.
Frank Skjellerup, as he liked to be known, the son of a Danish immigrant farmer, Peder Jensen Skjellerup and his British-born wife Margaret (néeWilliamson) Skjellerup, was the tenth of 13 children. When he was still a small boy his father died. As a result, the day before his 14th birthday, Frank left school and began working as a messenger for the Victorian Post Office. He trained as a telegraph operator, and when the South African Government began recruiting telegraphers in Australia, Skjellerup was one of those selected, arriving in Cape Town in early 1900. Although he spent the rest of his working life in South Africa, when he retired in 1923 he and his wife Mary returned to Australia, settling...