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Table of Contents

History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology




Chapter 1: Germination and Growth
The First Three Decades
A Time of Rapid 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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The Struggle for Growth (continued)

From the available records (Gibbs [31]), it appears that Griffith Taylor was one of the few, if not the only, original member of the Bureau to possess a science degree, although his major areas of study at Cambridge were geology, geomorphology and geography, subjects not particularly relevant to the physical aspects of meteorology. During his time with the Bureau, Griffith Taylor published a number of articles on the physiography of the eastern parts of Australia (e.g. Taylor [73], [74]) and his Doctoral thesis was on the topic of Antarctic glaciology (Hogan [37]).

The majority of the forecasting staff had Bachelor of Arts degrees (Kidson [45]), which would usually have contained some basic training in physics and mathematics, as the grounds for their employment in the Bureau. The meteorology was learnt on the job, either at the Bureau or the state Observatories, which had responsibility for this work prior to the Bureau's formation.

By 1914, the staff total had increased to 78 from the original 49, mainly to cope with the rising numbers of observations, rather than as a response to a change in forecast output. So, according to Weather News[19], it was clerks who increased in numbers, not forecasters.

During World War I, responsibility for the Bureau was transferred to the Department of Works and Railways for a short period before returning to the newly named Department of Home and Territories (from 1932 Department of the Interior), where it remained until 1972, with the exception of the war years and immediately after (1940–1946) when it came under the control of the Department of Air as the Directorate of Meteorological Services.

As mentioned earlier, the Bureau was seen very much as a backwater of the Public Service in its early days and there was little movement of people into or out of the organisation from either the clerical or forecasting ranks (Hogan [37]). The only hope of promotion within the Bureau for clerical staff was by gaining the qualifications necessary for transfer to the Professional Division. This was achieved by either passing the appropriate Public Service examination, or by private university study, neither of which necessarily had to have any relevance to science.

People in Bright Sparcs - Taylor, Thomas Griffith

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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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