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Table of Contents

Memories of the Bureau, 1946 to 1962





Chapter 1: The Warren Years, 1946 to 1950

Chapter 2: International Meteorology

Chapter 3: The Timcke Years, 1950 to 1955

Chapter 4: A Year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chapter 5: The Dwyer Years, 1955 to 1962
Leonard Joseph Dwyer—A Complex Character
Reorganising the Bureau
Public Weather Services
Forecasts for the General Public
Importance of Radio Stations
The Advent of Television
Automatic Telephone Forecast Service
Wording and Verification of Forecasts
Services for Aviation
Atomic Weapons Tests
Atomic Weapons Tests—Mosaic G1 and G2
Atomic Weapons Tests—Buffalo 1, 2, 3 and 4
Atomic Weapons Tests—Operations Antler, 2 and 3
Atomic Weapons Tests—Minor Trials
Instruments and Observations
Radar/Radio Winds and Radar Weather Watch
Automatic Weather Stations
Meteorological Satellites
Tropical Cyclones
Bureau Conference on Tropical Cyclones
International Symposium on Tropical Cyclones, Brisbane
Design of Water Storages, Etc
Flood Forecasting
Cloud Seeding
Reduction of Evaporation
Rain Seminar
Cloud Physics
Fire Weather
Research and Special Investigations
International Activities
The International Geophysical Year
The Antarctic and Southern Ocean
International Symposium on Antarctic Meteorology
International Antarctic Analysis Centre
ADP, EDP and Computers
Management Conference
Services Conference
CSIRO and the Universities
Achievements of the Dwyer Years

Chapter 6: A Springboard for the Future

Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Reports, Papers, Manuscripts

Appendix 3: Milestones

Appendix 4: Acknowledgements

Appendix 5: Summary by H. N. Warren of the Operation of the Meteorological Section of Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane, 1942–45



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Services for Aviation (continued)

During the war he served at Canberra, Port Moresby, Milne Bay, Laverton, East Sale and Garbutt, being demobilised with the rank of squadron leader in 1946. He then worked as duty forecaster with Arch Shields and Steve Lloyd in the Victorian Divisional Office before seeing service in aviation offices at Garbutt (twice) and Laverton (Vic) before occupying the important position of OIC Mascot from 1954 to 1960, where he was succeeded by Pat Ryan.

After a brief period in the Central Office Aviation Section with Walter Dwyer, John again became a squadron leader in the RAAF as OIC of the meteorological section of the RAAF station at Butterworth in Malaysia from 1960 to 1963. He then served as OIC of the meteorological office at Perth Airport after which he became Aviation Supervisor at the Perth Regional Office.

In 1973 John was appointed as the first Director of the new Papua New Guinea National Meteorological Service, a responsibility which he accepted and performed with his usual diligence and dignity.

A fitting tribute to John was paid by one of his former staff, Col Glendinning, in his reminiscences in Metarch Papers No 8, 1996. Col describes John as the perfect OIC who took great trouble in briefing Col when he first joined the aviation meteorological office in Perth.

Like many other weather officers John's lack of opportunity to take a university degree in science restricted his promotion within the Bureau but the significance of his contribution to the Bureau's service to aviation must rank him and many other weather officers among the major contributors in the Dwyer years.

Atomic Weapons Tests

Chapter 3 describes the ramifications of the top secret activities of the AWRE in the Timcke years and the highly secretive manner in which the Bureau became involved. The information in chapter 3 and in this chapter is based on the three-volume Report of the Royal Commission into Nuclear Weapons Tests in Australia (McClelland et al, 1985) kindly lent to me by Henry Phillpot.

After the initial explosion of an atomic bomb, Operation Hurricane, at the Monte Bello Islands on 3 October 1952 and some preliminary trials at the remote Dingo claypan named Emu Field in September and October 1953, two more atomic bombs, Operations Totem 1 and 2, were exploded at Emu Field on 15 and 17 October 1953. When the UK made a formal request for a permanent test site for atomic weapons in Australia on 30 October 1953, doubts were expressed regarding the risks to the Australian population from the fallout which had occurred after Operations Totem 1 and 2.

Nevertheless an Australian Department of Supply team had surveyed a possible test site at Maralinga on the Nullarbor Plain not far from Watson Station on the Port Augusta-Perth rail line, and reported favourably in February 1954. By 16 May 1955 work on the construction of an atomic testing range north of Maralinga had progressed sufficiently for minor Kittens trials to be conducted, followed in July of that year by further minor Tims trials.

However the Maralinga range development had not proceeded sufficiently for the testing of an atomic bomb and because the Emu Field site had been so contaminated by nuclear radiation as to make it unsafe for further testing, the AWRE was granted permission to use the Monte Bello Island site previously used for Operation Hurricane.

This was the situation inherited by Len Dwyer when he became acting Director of Meteorology on the retirement of E. W. Timcke in April 1955.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Glendinning, Colin (Col); Lloyd, Stephen Henry (Steve); Phillpot, Henry Robert; Ryan, Patrick (Pat); Shields, Archibald John; Timcke, Edward Waldemar

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Gibbs, W. J. 1999 'A Very Special Family: Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1946 to 1962', Metarch Papers, No. 13 May 1999, Bureau of Meteorology

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