A number of groups in Australia are concerned with Earth crustal movement measurement and interpretation. A brief description is given of their activities. Monitoring crustal movements requires methods of strain determination which have the best attainable precision and long-term stability. Paramount to improvement of the established techniques is need for a facility where the various methods can be compared in a reliable manner. The remainder of the paper describes the research programme of the Cooney Observatory (operated by the University of New England) which has a dominant theme of instrument development and verification. Rod, wire and laser strain-meters and the necessary peripheral equipment are described. Of interest is the continuing improvement of stable intermediate-length measuring bases in which a controlled temperature and pressure environment is created to eliminate the main systematic sources of instrument error during testing and calibration.