||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
Meteorological History in the TerritoryNo. 264 August 1983
Kevin Murphy, ST02 Darwin RO, is currently researching the history of tropical cyclones that have affected the Darwin area.
The study is being undertaken under a grant from the NT Government, and in addition to its historical value, it is expected to be of great practical assistance in determining building standards for Darwin and other cyclone areas.
Kevin's studies, which have taken him as far afield as Brisbane and Adelaide, have unearthed the following interesting facts about the history of meteorology in the Northern Territory, dating back to the 1820s:
It could be said that the beginnings of meteorology in Northern Australia coincided with the establishment of the British garrisons at Fort Dundas (18241827) Raffles Bay (18271829) and Port Essington (18381849). At each of these settlements, some meteorological observations were recorded. The most significant weather event during this early period was the cyclone which devastated the Port Essington settlement on the night of 25 November 1839. The barometric pressure dropped to 965 mb. and hurricane force winds drove the "HMS Pelorus" ashore, drowning eight seamen.
After South Australia annexed the Northern Territory in 1863, her first (albeit abortive) attempt at settlement in the north was at Adam Bay, near the mouth of the Adelaide river, between May 1864 and November 1866. During this period, storekeeper Jacob Bauer performed regular meteorological observations. Finally the first permanent settlement of Palmerston (later called Darwin) was founded on 5 February 1869.
For many years meteorological observations were taken at the Darwin Post Office. During the first 35 years, the scene was dominated by the imposing figure of J. A. G. Little, Postmaster, Collector of Customs and Deputy Sherrif. Although at times a controversial character, probably due in part to the many hats he wore, Little was nevertheless a meticulous worker, and played no small part in building a long unbroken meteorological record.
© 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