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Recollections of Service in the Bureau and RAAF


Recollections—Mascot and Rose Bay—the Early Years

Sojourn in the Far East 1942




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Recollections—Mascot and Rose Bay—the Early Years (continued)

When recreation leave was taken, Arthur White and I were relieved in turn, on one occasion at least by Mr (later Dr) P. Squires, who had also been on No 1 Meteorologist Course. Pat Squires did not like shiftwork at all; he was no practitioner, but it soon became evident he was an effective research scientist, spending his career in the Radiophysics Division of CSIRO and then in the USA National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado USA, where he died in 1990.

The met/radio hut stood a short distance in front of the Royal Aero Club building and on the edge of the aerodrome. About the only other buildings at Mascot were the large Australian National Airways (ANA) hangar and the Qantas hangar and depot round to the left and the right of the aero club respectively (looking south), the aero club hangar, the hangar and out buildings of the Kingsford-Smith Air Service and the small wooden control tower standing about 80 to 100 metres to the right of the met/radio hut. At that time of course there was no hard standing or tarmac on the runway(s), that whole area being grassed.

Control tower at Mascot, 1937

The control tower at Mascot, as it was in 1937. ( Photograph courtesy J.D. Payens.)

Mascott 1940

(Approximate location of Meteorological Office, indicated by arrows) The rapid expansion in facilities that occurred at Mascot between 1935 and 1940 is clearly shown by this photograph, taken in 1940. The Meteorological Office commenced operation in late 1937 to meet the increasing demands for increasing aeronautical meteorological services. (Photograph courtesy Australian Government Publishing Service.)

Before there were Observers, Arthur White and I covered the work between us in two shifts, solo on Sundays and part solo on the other six days, at first from 0600 to 1700 hours. Later, in 1939 when 0300 and 2100 observations commenced in the Bureau the shifts were extended. In any case, on the mornings when the Dutch service, KNILM took off early on its flight to Batavia via Archerfield and other places, it was necessary for us to conduct a 0200/0300 pilot balloon ascent and exchange it with Archerfield.

On these shifts, at first we did everything, mainly solo,—surface observations and pilot balloon ascents, despatching these by telephone to the GPO after encoding them; collecting reports from the GPO by telephone, decoding and plotting these with strict adherence to the station model; analysis of charts; forecasting.

At about this time we were supplied with a teleprinter and this meant a great improvement in the process of data reception. At this time there was a mixture of the Australian word code and the new 5-figure international code, the latter being used firstly by Bureau stations. As one would say these days, a teleprinter represented a significant technological advance.

People in Bright Sparcs - Hannay, Alexander Keith (Keith); Squires, Patrick; White, Arthur Charles

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Hannay, K. 1994 'Some Recollections of Service in the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology and RAAF Meteorological Service: Mascot and Rose Bay (1938 to 1940): Sojourn in the Far East (1942)', Metarch Papers, No. 6 July 1994, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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