It's hard to think of a time when the landscape of Australian astronomy was changing as rapidly as it is at present. Perhaps during the pioneering days of radio astronomy following the second world war? Or in those heady days, three decades later, when optical astronomy was revitalized by the Anglo-Australian Telescope (figure 1)? Today, radio astronomy in Australia maintains a steady-as-she-goes approach, with innovative new facilities paving the way for the Square Kilometre Array in the 2020s. But the optical community is undergoing epochal transformation – bringing both opportunities and challenges.