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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up
Early Australian Meteorologists
Early Days in the Bureau
Forecasters' Training Course
My Classmates
Reorganisation of the Bureau
Love and Marriage

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour

Chapter 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour

Chapter 4: Allied Air Force HQ and RAAF Command, Brisbane

Chapter 5: Japan Surrenders and We Are Demobilised



Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Milestones

Appendix 3: Papers Published in Tropical Weather Research Bulletins

Appendix 4: Radiosonde Observations 1941–46


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Forecasters' Training Course

In March 1940 I was transferred to Bureau Headquarters in Melbourne to undertake a Weather Officer forecasting course.

It was about that time that I learnt that students of the course would be offered commissions as Meteorological Officers in the RAAF. In July 1939 a conference between representatives of the Bureau, Navy, Army and Air Force recommended to the Federal Cabinet that, in the event of war, the Bureau should be transferred from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Air and become a directorate of the RAAF. The transfer to Department of Air took place on 1 July 1940 but the creation of the RAAF Directorate of Meteorological Services did not occur until April 1941. Thus we were aware of plans for us to join the RAAF but we continued as civilian employees of the Bureau throughout the course and for sometime thereafter.

The course classroom was in the recently completed addition to the Bureau headquarters at No 2 Drummond Street, Carlton. The original building was a two storey Victorian mansion with the name of 'Frosterley' which, until leased by the Bureau of Meteorology in 1908, was the home and surgery of a Dr Snowball, an eminent children's doctor who had close connections with the Children's Hospital, which at that time was in nearby Rathdowne Street. The three storey concrete building which was added to 'Frosterley' in the late 1930s was more appropriate accommodation for the Bureau's headquarters but it lacked the charm of the old building which continued to house many of the headquarters staff.

The 22 students on the course were Harry Ashton (SA), Bill Brann (Vic), George Brown (Qld), Reg Clarke (SA), Doug Forder (SA), Andy Garriock (NSW), Bill Gibbs (NSW), 'Greenie' Greenfield (NSW), 'Sammy' Hall (Vic), Bruce Mason (SA), Jack McDonough (Vic), 'Mac' McDonald (Vic), 'Morrie' Nettle (NSW), Bruce Retallack (SA), Bryan Rofe (SA), George Rutherford (NZ), 'Rupe' Senior (SA), Arch Shields (Vic), George Smallman (NSW), Jack Wiesner (NSW), Bruce Williams (NSW) and Don Wright (Vic). More than half of the class had been school-teachers. Most had science degrees with majors in Mathematics and Physics.

People in Bright Sparcs - Ashton, Henry Tamblyn (Harry); Brann, Harold Walter Allen Neale (Bill); Clarke, Reginald Henry; Forder, Douglas Highmoor (Doug); Retallack, Bruce James; Rofe, Bryan; Shields, Archibald John; Snowball, William

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Gibbs, W. J. 1995 'A Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 7 March 1995, Bureau of Meteorology

© 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