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Table of Contents

History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology




Chapter 1: Germination and Growth

Chapter 2: Struggle, Competition and Emergence

Appendix 1: Meteorology Act 1906

Appendix 2: Meteorology Act 1955

Appendix 3: Simpson Report

Appendix 4: Survey Questionnaire

Appendix 5: Bibliography



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Foreword (continued)

During his time in the Antarctic, John impressed his M.Sc supervisor by sending an assignment by fax from Mawson. In seeking a theme for his M.Sc thesis John became interested in the history of research in the Bureau. With the permission of Dr John Zillman, John fossicked through old Bureau files and interviewed various staff in preparing the thesis which he submitted for completion of his M.Sc.

When I first read the thesis I was impressed by the amount of valuable material John's fossicking had revealed. The information obtained by questionnaire from people who had been associated with Bureau activities was intriguing. John's opinions on the significance of various events—a very proper consideration for the author of a M.Sc thesis—were also interesting.

Having read the thesis I believed that it would be a valuable addition to the Metarch Papers series. I wrote to John, suggesting that some additional relevant material might be included. I also wrote that I considered some of his criticisms of the earlier Bureau people were over-critical and unjust. I also pointed out some minor errors.

I considered the use of anecdotal material from people not wishing to be identified by name reduced the authenticity of that material. I recognised that their wish for anonymity could not be ignored if John was to use their information.

John was very busy and was not able to reply to my letter for some considerable time so our discussions of his thesis were delayed until John produced another draft. It still contains a reference to some matters of which my recollections differ from those of John's informants. I have no objection if John chooses to prefer the recollections of other people. My only concern was that obvious errors should be corrected and that credit should be given to the efforts of Bureau people in the period 1908–1946.

In my initial letter to John written in September 1994, which contained four pages of comments on his thesis, I wrote "I admire your efforts in producing the thesis and hope it will be published as a Metarch Paper". While not agreeing with all of the recollections and opinions recorded in the thesis I believe it contains so much valuable information on the history of meteorology in Australia, it should be published without delay.

W. J. Gibbs

February 1997

People in Bright Sparcs - Gibbs, William James (Bill); Zillman, John William

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Gardner, J. 1997 'Stormy Weather: A History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 11 December 1997, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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