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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)

When the war started the weather room staff had to man a 24-hour watch. When on early morning shift both I and the observer had to arrive by 11 pm to relieve the outgoing staff and we were given beds in which to sleep until 3 am. These were first of all set up in the old weather room and later on the first floor of the old building in the ladies' rest room, which we didn't like very much. We eventually got permission to sleep in the room adjacent to Tommy Camm's on Victoria Street on the ground floor where two beds were set up. The observer had to get up before 3 am and go over and take the obs. We managed to perform our ablutions in the second floor bathroom. As the observing offices at the remote aerodromes were gradually set up, the observations were telegraphed in the then still fairly new five figure code and the unofficial observations from post offices and other part-time observers continued to be sent in on the old Australian word code. The forecasters and the observers taking these off the teleprinters had to re-learn and inwardly digest the word code. The old school didn't like this at all; Timcke, who was then in the new building, in charge of the Aviation Section, Willy Watt and Tommy Camm just didn't like the figure code because they had been brought up with the other. In fact they had devised the word code as we were frequently reminded in a certain hotel not very far away. By January 1939 old McDonald retired as Librarian and Miss Carey, (as we called her until after the war) had become the Librarian.

The library was on the second floor of the new building. Instruments section had moved into a couple of small rooms towards the end of the second floor near the Training School. In offices in other States the assistant meteorologists had all moved elsewhere. In Adelaide Reg Shinkfield was temporarily replaced by Errol Mizon. Barney Newman had been firmly entrenched in Sydney for a considerable time as Assistant Meteorologist to David Mares. In Melbourne Timcke's chief assistant meteorologist was Walter Dwyer who had come back from Darwin early in 1938. In early 1939 H. N. Warren was occupying the room next door to the Commonwealth Meteorologist with the honorary title of Assistant Director but virtually he was already the Director of Meteorology. Willy Watt didn't retire from the position of Commonwealth Meteorologist until April or May 1940 but stayed on to take charge of the encrypting of coded messages which had to be put into cypher by this stage because of the war. Most of the Bureau staff who were in the Bureau in 1937 before our course started have died (many of them long since) including all the Divisional Meteorologists. The youngest was Chester Coomes who died during the war.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Walter Anthony; Lillywhite, John Wilson; Mares, David John; Newman, Bernard William (Bernie); Timcke, Edward Waldemar; Warren, Herbert Norman; 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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