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Weather News


Fifty Years of Weather History
Weather Officers—25 Years Ago
The Perth RO Since 1929
Remember the Pioneers
Akeroyd the Great
Out with the Old—In with the New [Bill Gibbs / John Zillman]
Dr Bill Gibbs
Dr John Zillman
Meteorological History in the Territory
Edwin Thomas Quayle—Bureau Research Pioneer
Ninety Years Ago: Birth of the Bureau

Personal Notes



Observers and Volunteers




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No. 236 Aug/Sep 1976, Item 2956 (continued)

Willy Willies

"Cockeyes" and "Willy" or "Willy Willies" were then common North West names, for severe thunderstorm squalls and tropical cyclones respectively.

The writer was a leading pilot for West Australian Airways and was later to become one of the most famous and best known figures in the world of civil aviation, Charles Kingsford Smith.

The recipient of the letter, the founder of West Australian Airways, is a figure no less famous in the history of Australian Civil Aviation, Sir Norman Brearley, D.S.O., M.C., A.F.C.

Sir Norman became Australia's first licensed commercial pilot on August 23, 1921, and West Australian Airways Ltd, the first regular airline service in Australia began operating from Geraldton to Derby on December 4th of the same year.

Sir Norman

Sir Norman, now 85 years of age enjoys good health and a remarkably quick and accurate memory, informs us that the aircraft Charles Kingsford-Smith would have been flying was a Bristol Tourer.

This aircraft was a modification of a World War I single engined fighter—bomber, and carried a pilot and two passengers. The former being accommodated in the usual open cockpit.

The cyclone which caused dislocation of the air services and which would have still been fresh in the memory of the pilot was that of 15–19 January 1923.

The cyclone was first detected as such about 120 miles north of Onslow and moved down the west coast decaying on the 19th near Perth.

The wind at Vlaming Head on the 17th was reported as N Force 12; greater than 63 kts. The state ship SS. "Bombra" was forced to turn south at Vlaming Head and seek shelter at Bernier Island.

The cyclone wrecked the old whaling station at Point Cloates as well as one of the steam whale chasers.

This commendation from such a famous airman is probably one of the first tributes to the Bureau's Aviation Meteorological Services.

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