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Obituary—Mr. L. J. Dwyer
Obituary: Mr. H. M. Treloar
James Charles Foley
Herb Whittingham Dies
Bryan Rofe
Vale Fritz Loewe
Death of H. E. Banfield
Former RD Passes On [Pat Ryan]
Arthur Muffatti Dies
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Jack Johnston
Mr E. W. Timcke
Sudden Death of Ross Maine
Ross Maine—An Appreciation
Fred Weisser
Reg Clarke
Dr Patrick Squires (1914–1990)
Bill Brann—'Architect of the Observing System'
Vale Arch Shields
Dr John Farrands
Vale David Kupsch: A Death in the Family

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Dr John Farrands

No. 314 December 1996

'A friend of the Bureau'

Dr John Farrands, a distinguished scientist with strong links to the Bureau, died in Melbourne on July 14. He was a former Chief Defence Scientist and a Secretary of the Department of Science from 1977–81.

Professor Henry d'Assumpcao's obituary in The Australian spoke of 'one of Australia's eminent technological scientists. His claim to fame lay not such much in personal research as in the way he managed science, shaped national policy and influenced . . . diverse organisations.'

Dr Bill Gibbs, a former Director, remembers Bureau contacts with Dr Farrands from the 1950s. 'In the 1970s he was a member of the Committee of Inquiry which had the responsibility of reviewing the Bureau's performance . . . his wisdom undoubtedly contributed to the committee's favourable assessment.

His healthy scientific scepticism of the wild claims of scientists and pseudo-scientists is reflected in his book Don't Panic, Panic! which he wrote "in defence of good science, which I love." He suggested that "when scientists or publicists or reporters or activists or politicians open their mouths to frighten you . . . say to yourself . . . don't panic, they could be wrong,"

In Dr Zillman's letter of condolence to Mrs Jessica Farrands, he extended sympathy and placed on record 'the enormous gratitude and appreciation towards John which still runs deeply through the Bureau.

He helped us enormously over the years and was always a great friend of the Bureau. He will be remembered fondly and with great respect and admiration by us all.'

Dr Zillman recalls Dr Farrands' 'commitment to intellectual rigour, fairness, integrity in public administration and, most of all, to the essential courtesies and decency in inter-personal relationships.

He probed frequently and deeply into issues, but, when convinced of the integrity of a position, was completely uncompromising in his support.

While on the Committee of Inquiry, he was in many ways the intellectual driving force behind most of the key recommendations, including those related to the need for the Bureau to preserve its separate identity and to insist on media attribution to the Bureau for its public forecast and warning services. He was committed to the concept that the Government's role was to fund the Bureau's basic systems and public services, and the Bureau's most important role was to serve the community through the media.

He championed the incremental charging philosophy for aviation and other users, which became widely accepted as the optimum model for use in other countries as well and has a lasting influence on Australia's role in helping to hold together the international regime of free and unrestricted exchange of meteorological data.

In his ex officio role as Chairman of the Meteorology Policy Committee, he became the Bureau's most penetrating internal critic and strongest public supporter.

To him must go credit for official recognition of the fundamental importance of the Bureau's research role.'

People in Bright Sparcs - Farrands, John Laws

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