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Notes Prepared by John Hogan


I Join the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology

H. A. Hunt (1866–1946) — First Commonwealth Meteorologist

Inigo Jones (1872–1954)

Griffith Taylor, D.SC, B.E., B.A. (1880–1963)

Edward Kidson, O.B.E., D.Sc., F. Inst. P. (1882–1939)

My Recollections of Captain Edward Kidson (R.E) O.B.E, D.Sc., F. Inst. P. (1882–1939)

Macquarie Island

Willis Island


Contact us
Willis Island (continued)

On March 8 an incident occurred which relieved the monotony, which affected all during the mid-months of our stay. It showed also the usefulness of our island radio station.

Early on this day the radio officer on duty heard the SOS signal being broadcast. The SS Mindini, one of Burns Philps's fleet of ships, which traded between Sydney and the Islands had run aground on Mellish Reef about 300 miles east of Willis Island.

Townsville and Cooktown radio stations also picked up the signals but their replying signals were not audible on the wrecked ship. Thus Willis Island acted during the whole of that day as a relay station for two-way messages between the ship and its Sydney Head Office, via Townsville radio.

The Mindini became a total wreck, but the passengers and crew with their personal luggage got ashore onto a sand cay and were rescued the next morning by the Nauru Chief and were put ashore at Samarai.

As the end of March approached, we had spent nearly five months on Willis Island without experiencing cyclonic weather. We had had gales and heavy seas, always from directions between east and southeast but we had yet to experience any weather sufficiently bad to cause us alarm.

The Island is a central grassed sand-heap, surrounded by a wide sloping coral beach. It is elliptical in shape with its greater axis grassed running northwest to southeast, and about a quarter of a mile long. The greatest width of the grassed area is 150 yards. All this sits on a coral platform, nearly horizontal but sloping seawards towards its outer edge. To the east and southeast (directions from which heaviest seas approach) the platform's outer edge, or fringing reef is about a quarter of a mile from the centre of the island. Herein lies the safety from inundation of life there.

People in Bright Sparcs - Hogan, John

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Hogan, J. 1986 'Notes Prepared by John Hogan (1896-1970)', Metarch Papers, No. 2 March 1986, Bureau of Meteorology

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