||Federation and Meteorology
Table of Contents
Fifty Years of Weather History
Weather Officers25 Years Ago
The Perth RO Since 1929
Remember the Pioneers
Akeroyd the Great
Out with the OldIn with the New [Bill Gibbs / John Zillman]
Dr Bill Gibbs
Dr John Zillman
Meteorological History in the Territory
Edwin Thomas QuayleBureau Research Pioneer
Ninety Years Ago: Birth of the Bureau
Observers and Volunteers
The Perth RO Since 1929No. 227 July 1975, Item 2788
When Margaret Wallace of the Perth RO retired on February 24 this year after more than 45 years with the Met. Bureau (Weather News item 2744), she sent over to HO a short history of the Perth office covering her period of service. We're pleased to present it here:
When I first joined the Perth Weather Bureau in 1929 the Divisional Meteorologist was Mr E. B. Curlewis and the office was in the basement of New Zealand Chambers in St. George's Terrace. It consisted of one large room which housed all staff except the Junior Assistant, who worked in a small adjoining room. The staff numbered about seven or eight. In addition, the Bureau had a small room at the GPO where the weather telegrams were received. Here the daily weather bulletin and rainfall sheet were written and observations included in the telegrams were phoned to the Terrace office where the weather maps were drawn and the forecasts issued.
Only two maps were drawn each day, one at 9 a.m. and one at 3 p.m. The instrument enclosure was in the Observatory grounds, opposite Kings Park, about half a mile from the office. The 9 a.m. observations were taken by the Divisional Meteorologist on his way to the office. The 3 p.m. observations were taken by either the Meteorological Assistant or the Clerical Assistant.
When the Capitol Theatre was erected at the foot of William Street in 1929 it was no longer possible to observe local weather conditions from the basement window and soon afterwards the Bureau moved to the top floor of the Observatory building.
Mr Curlewis retired in 1937 and was succeeded by Mr A. G. Akeroyd. In the middle thirties regular air flights began to operate across the Nullabor Plain between Perth and the eastern States and in 1938 an office was opened at the Maylands Aerodrome to deal with the aviation forecasting.
After war broke out in 1939 the Bureau of Meteorology was taken over by the Air Force and almost all staff became RAAF members. War-time requirements brought about an expansion in Bureau activities and a consequent staff increase. Many of the new meteorologists were recruited from school teachers who had enlisted in the services. Very little weather information was published during the war and all RAAF activities were carried out under conditions of greatest secrecy.
During this period a small group of weathermen from the U.S. Navy Air Force were stationed in Perth to provide information for American reconnaissance activities. Until they could set up an office and communications system of their own they made use of the Bureau facilities and for a time shared the work of the fore-casting section.
When demobilisation came in 1946 a much larger staff was required to meet peacetime requirements than in pre-war days. Many of the met. personnel who had served with the RAAF during the war remained with the Bureau in a civilian capacity.
In March 1948 Mr Akeroyd collapsed and died while on his way to the office. His place was taken temporarily bv Mr J. Hogan who, as a Squadron Leader during the war, had been in charge of the forecasting for the Indian Ocean air route. At that time this was the longest non-stop sea crossing in the world. This route was established by Qantas after the fall of Singapore, it being the only possible air route left available for communication between Australia and England.
Mr Akeroyd was succeeded as Regional Director by Mr G. W. Mackey.
People in Bright Sparcs - Akeroyd, Arthur Gordon; Curlewis, Harold Burnham; Hogan, John (Doc); Mackey, George William
© 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