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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour
Sydney to Port Moresby by DH-86
First Impressions of Port Moresby
Meteorological Office Routine
Flight to Kokoda
Tropical Meteorology
John (Doc) Hogan
Setting up House
We Join the RAAF
A Contrast in Attitudes
Some RAAF History
RAAF No 10 Squadron
RAAF No 11 Squadron
The Catalina Story
Construction of the Seven-mile Airstrip and Reclamation Area
Meteorological Service for the RAAF
Unexpected Vistitors
Our State of Readiness
Our Domestic Situation
A Japanese Surprise Packet
What Had We Meteorologists Achieved?

Chapter 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour

Chapter 4: Allied Air Force HQ and RAAF Command, Brisbane

Chapter 5: Japan Surrenders and We Are Demobilised



Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Milestones

Appendix 3: Papers Published in Tropical Weather Research Bulletins

Appendix 4: Radiosonde Observations 1941–46


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Setting up House (continued)

For most of the time our only fresh food was the locally-grown pineapple and pawpaw (papaya). Audrey and I purchased the fruit from bare breasted Papuan girls who came to our back door as hawkers. I enjoyed buying this fruit although Audrey preferred that she should make these purchases. We greatly enjoyed pawpaws which had a delicious flavour when sprinkled with the juice of sapora, the local lime fruit.

The meteorological staff often included pawpaw in the lunch which they took to the airport, which we frequently ate on the verandah of the office at Kila Kila. Inside the fruit were many small black seeds which we tossed from the verandah to the ground below. To our delight small pawpaw trees appeared, grew quickly and bore fruit within a year.

Havi was obviously displeased that a white woman was to be boss of the house and would determine the menus and the overall organisation which was previously his responsibility. He made this obvious in subtle ways such as diligently cleaning and polishing my shoes while 'forgetting' to attend to Audrey's. In his world women knew their place but this new Sinnabada (lady) obviously was an interfering type. I persuaded Audrey to tolerate Havi's chewing of betel nut which covered his teeth and gums with scarlet spittle.

We needed to protect food from the ubiquitous cockroaches which grew to about 5–10 cm in length. Cockroaches gathered in great numbers in the pantry of our house at night. Audrey's first introduction to the Port Moresby cockroaches occurred soon after her arrival when on opening the pantry door and switching on the light she was confronted by a swarm of extra-large cockroaches which, as they scurried for cover, made an eerie, slithering, scratching sound which she found particularly revolting.

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Gibbs, W. J. 1995 'A Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 7 March 1995, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher