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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


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Setting up House (continued)

But there were compensations. Newly married, with a beautiful young wife, I was in seventh heaven. For the first time in my life I felt that I was in control of my destiny. The view of the immense harbour from our home presented a kaleidoscopic picture of activity of nature and humankind. Sunsets were particularly spectacular. Twilight lasted only for a few minutes but often as the sun set over the sea the sky was often so brilliantly coloured as to resemble the extravagant colours of a painting by Turner. We swam in the enclosed pool on the harbour's edge at the foot of the hill on which our house was located. We drove to Ela Beach and Rouna Falls, played tennis, dined with friends, including my meteorological colleagues Keith Hannay and Alan Hobson and his wife.

We soon became acquainted with the Commonwealth Government Department of Works employees (and their wives) whose work related to the construction of the RAAF airstrip at the 'Seven-mile' and the building, among other things, of the RAAF offices and barracks. These new acquaintances included Jack and Eve Barker, Jack Gannon and his wife (who were next door neighbours in Pandora Crescent), Ralph Phillips and wife and Noel Hill. We exchanged visits (see Figure 9) for cocktails and meals, and the playing of 78rpm classical and popular records on a wind-up gramophone. We also played cards.

Evening in Pandora Crescent

Figure 9 Social evening at the Gibbs in Pandora Crescent, early 1941. Keith Hannay fourth from left. Bill and Audrey Gibbs on right. Other guests are employees of the Department of Works and their wives. In those days being photographed was a serious affair. (Photograph courtesy of A. K. Hannay)

Audrey and I enjoyed observing the small geckoes (lizards) which moved over the ceiling of our home, clinging by their suckered toes, changing colour to blend with their background and chirruping with an attractive clicking sound. We tried to grow a garden in the stony wilderness but had success only with hibiscus and frangipani. When a septic tank was at last installed for our new inside flush toilet we planted a cream-flowered frangipani near its outfall. To our amazement the frangipani soon grew the most brilliant scarlet flowers.

People in Bright Sparcs - Hannay, Alexander Keith (Keith)

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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