||Federation and Meteorology
Table of Contents
Notes Prepared by John Hogan
I Join the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology
H. A. Hunt (18661946) First Commonwealth Meteorologist
Inigo Jones (18721954)
Griffith Taylor, D.SC, B.E., B.A. (18801963)
Edward Kidson, O.B.E., D.Sc., F. Inst. P. (18821939)
My Recollections of Captain Edward Kidson (R.E) O.B.E, D.Sc., F. Inst. P. (18821939)
The establishment of a meteorological station in the Coral Sea to give prior warning of tropical cyclones had been advocated for years. There are many small islands, cays and isolated reefs in this ocean area and it became a matter of selecting one that was habitable and at the same time sufficiently close to the normal track of these storms, but sufficiently distant from the Queensland coast to make its reports truly effective.
After the devastating Mackay cyclone of 1918, agitation for such a station grew and was reinforced by the fact that a network of coastal radiotelegraph stations was then operating; this network would increase by including the larger ocean-going ships, which from October 1921 would be required to carry wireless equipment.
In June 1921, a party set out from Townsville in the launch Mandalay to examine the various islets. A member of the party, Mr Macdonald, an officer of the Radio Service of the Postmaster-General's Department, reported that the southernmost islet of the Willis Group, was a suitable site for a radio-telegraph station. (When established a little later, it became the Willis Island Meteorological Station, though the Radio Authorities maintained the name Willis Islets for some time.)
Another member of the Mandalay party was Captain Rhodes, then Harbour Master at Rockhampton and an energetic protagonist of the scheme for years. It was reported that by the time the Mandalay reached Willis Islets, he was the only person who was not too seasick to land on the island for a close examination, particularly for the purpose of seeking any evidence of past inundations. It was he also who had first interested Captain J. K. Davis in the project.
People in Bright Sparcs - Davis, John King; Hogan, John
© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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