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Table of Contents

Early Years in the Bureau


My Early Years in the Bureau of Meteorology

The Formation of the Frosterley Club

Attachment A

Attachment B

Attachment C

Attachment D

Attachment E

Attachment F

Attachment G

Attachment H

Attachment I


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My Early Years in the Bureau of Meteorology (continued)

At the interview I had in Adelaide in the PSI's office with W. S. (Willy) Watt he struck me as being cynical and not terribly interested in our training course. This opinion was reinforced later when I met the Assistant Director, Mr Barkley. Mr Watt was 62 in 1937 and due to retire in 1940. Mr Barkley, the second- in-command, was expected to be appointed Commonwealth Meteorologist when Mr Watt retired. Barkley had been appointed Commonwealth Meteorologist, but had been beaten on appeal by Mr Watt back in 1934. He was a very quiet, gentlemanly fellow and very interested in scientific matters and was really the organising spirit of the Bureau. He had been responsible for designing the questionnaire which had been sent out to all applicants for our course, and the questions asked I thought were particularly good. He told us of his difficulties in convincing the Public Service Board of the need for adequately trained staff. He always stood up for the rights of the staff to see that they got a fair deal. He took a genuine interest in newcomers to the training course and one evening in the third week he took Glasscock and myself, together with Mr Treloar, to a lecture at the Royal Society given by Dr Fritz Loewe whom I had never met before, and who I discovered was to be one of the instructors on our training course. Fritz Loewe was an exiled German Jew who had suffered hardships in Hitler's regime and had arrived in Australia about three or four months previously. He had given lectures to the earlier forecasters' course. Loewe was an eminent meteorologist and had worked with Wegener on the continental drift theory. They had been together on an expedition to the Greenland ice-cap a few years previously.

Mr Treloar was the principal lecturer in our training course and in whose room I sat from the second week I was there up until the course which began in September. Among his other idiosyncrasies he was a compulsive eater. Sheltering behind pigeon holes on his desk he would begin eating about 10 am. I didn't see very much of Mr Timcke during the time I was on the course. Mr Mackey who worked in Mr Timcke's room and was aged about thirty, had been retrenched from the Australian Navy at the time of the economic depression and had been in the Bureau four or five years. He was due to go to Darwin after three or four weeks leave, taking with him his young wife and infant daughter. In Darwin he was to relieve W. A. Dwyer who had completed his three years tropical service. Mackey was a mine of information on matters pertaining to the Bureau and informed me that he would be the Commonwealth Meteorologist after Mr Barkley, but he did point out that he had a rival in Mr Cornish who was about five years younger. Alan Cornish was then about 25 and George Mackey believed they would be rival candidates for the position of Commonwealth Meteorologist. Cornish, a pleasant man, was to be a lecturer on our course, and was to replace George Mackey temporarily in the Aviation room. Mr Hogan, (one of two bearing the name John Hogan), occupying the second desk in Mr Treloar's room, was at that time away for a few days delivering a barometer to Hamilton, which was a stop on the air-route from Melbourne to Adelaide. The aircraft on that air route, DH86's, flew from Melbourne via Hamilton and Narracoorte to Adelaide. John Hogan was returning in an Airspeed Oxford owned by a fledgling company called Ansett Airways. This John Hogan was a very pleasant man and among others things, was a member of the daily forecast board which used to foregather in the weather room.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Walter Anthony; Hogan, John; Lillywhite, John Wilson; Loewe, Fritz; Mackey, George William; Timcke, Edward Waldemar; Treloar, Harry Mayne; Watt, William Shand

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Lillywhite, J. 1992 'My Early Years in the Bureau of Meteorology: The Formation of the Frosterley Club', Metarch Papers, No. 4 February 1992, Bureau of Meteorology

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