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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour
Sydney to Port Moresby by DH-86
First Impressions of Port Moresby
Meteorological Office Routine
Flight to Kokoda
Tropical Meteorology
John (Doc) Hogan
Setting up House
We Join the RAAF
A Contrast in Attitudes
Some RAAF History
RAAF No 10 Squadron
RAAF No 11 Squadron
The Catalina Story
Construction of the Seven-mile Airstrip and Reclamation Area
Meteorological Service for the RAAF
Unexpected Vistitors
Our State of Readiness
Our Domestic Situation
A Japanese Surprise Packet
What Had We Meteorologists Achieved?

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


Contact us

Setting up House (continued)

When in September 1940 I had been posted to Port Moresby as a civilian in the Bureau of Meteorology, Norman Warren, the Director of Meteorology, had told me that it would be necessary for me to purchase a car to enable me to travel to work at Kila Kila. Before leaving Sydney I had been able to purchase a 1928 Chevrolet Tourer (see Figure 6) from Keith Hannay. The modest amount of money that Keith asked for the car considerably depleted my meagre savings. Luckily the Bureau met the cost of shipping it to Port Moresby and paid me a travelling allowance which met the cost of petrol. The car was shipped by either the MV Montoro or the MV MacDhui, the two Burns Philp ships which were our lifeline for the transport of food and other necessities from Sydney.

Gibbs and Chevrolet

Figure 6 Gibbs and Chevrolet, Pandora Crescent, Port Moresby 1941. (Photograph courtesy of A. K. Hannay)

The opportunity to use the car was somewhat limited as the only roads suitable for travel were one from the town along the harbour to Konedobu, the Administrator's residence and Hanuabada village (Figure 7) on the eastern side of the harbour; another along Ela Beach which turned inland through what would later become the Seven-mile airstrip (Jackson's Strip) to Rouna Falls, about 50km from the town; and the road to the airport at Kila Kila (about 6km from the town) which branched from the road to the Seven-mile airstrip at the eastern end of Ela Beach. These were gravel roads with chronic corrugations. The condition of the road to the Seven-mile airstrip and Rouna Falls became progressively worse the further one progressed from the town.

Hanuabada village

Figure 7 Hanuabada village built on stilts over the water of Port Moresby harbour. (Photograph courtesy of A. K. Hannay)

Before Audrey arrived in Port Moresby I rarely drove beyond Kila Kila in one direction and the Hanuabada Papuan village on the eastern shore of the harbour in the other. After her arrival early in 1941 the car was useful for domestic and social purposes in addition to its primary function of driving to and from the meteorological office at Kila Kila aerodrome. It was a great advantage for getting around when it was hot and humid and during periods of torrential rain which were frequent during the wet season. We used it to make trips to Ela Beach and other picnic spots, for social visits and for collecting our consignments of fresh food, groceries and hardware arriving about once each month by ship from Sydney.

People in Bright Sparcs - Hannay, Alexander Keith (Keith); Warren, Herbert Norman

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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