Page 516
Previous/Next Page
Federation and MeteorologyBureau of Meteorology
Table of Contents

Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology


Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1929–1946 by Allan Cornish
Chapter 1: My Early Days in the Bureau
Chapter 2: Some New Vistas
Chapter 3: The RAAF Measures Upper Air Temperatures
Chapter 4: The Bureau Begins to Grow
Chapter 5: My Voyage in Discovery II
Chapter 6: The Birth of the Instrument Section
Chapter 7: Darwin Days
Chapter 8: I Leave the Bureau

History of Major Meteorological Installation in Australia from 1945 to 1981 by Reg Stout

Four Years in the RAAF Meteorological Service by Keith Swan

The Bureau of Meteorology in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s by Col Glendinning


Contact us

Chapter 4: The Bureau Begins to Grow (continued)

Holyman didn't have the equipment to service the altimeters. Bill Ball, an instrument maker at The University of Melbourne Physics Department, who was a bright and enterprising fellow, managed to talk his way into working for Holyman. He developed a system for calibrating automatic pilots and altimeters. By that time we were developing an Instrument Section in the Bureau and had a Standard barometer, which gave him a reference for his calibration system. Bill Ball later became manager of the National Instrument Company.

No meteorological observations were made at aerodromes before 1937. I remember that in 1934 when I was on duty at No 2 Drummond Street in the evening (except on Saturday nights) a Meteorologist commenced duty about 7pm, and would use 3pm observations to prepare aviation forecasts for the next day.

This was also the situation in other capital city offices. In Melbourne, forecasts would be prepared for Melbourne-Sydney, Melbourne-Adelaide, Melbourne-Launceston and other routes and phoned to the captain of the aircraft before take-off. I became a Meteorologist later and prepared these forecasts. Using the surface synoptic chart and some upper winds from pilot balloon observations made earlier in the day we prepared forecasts for flights leaving Melbourne early the next day. The forecasts were somewhat vague. For instance a forecast for Melbourne-Sydney might read 'broken cloud 4,500 to 5,000 feet south of the ranges, clear north of the ranges, Sydney cloudy. Strong westerly winds at flying level'.

When ANA'S Southern Cloud disappeared flying from Sydney to Melbourne it had a forecast prepared in the Sydney city office based on the 3pm chart from the previous day. A later forecast was available in the city office at the time of take off but there was no wireless for communication with the pilot after take off. I was on duty in the Melbourne city office that day. I wasn't a Meteorologist at that time. I can remember the weather in Melbourne was shocking and when the Fokker was overdue our phones started to run hot.

People in Bright Sparcs - Cornish, Allan William

Previous Page Bureau of Meteorology Next Page

Cornish, A., Stout, R., Swan, K and Glendinning, C. 1996 'Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 8 February 1996, 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