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Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology


Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1929–1946 by Allan Cornish
Chapter 1: My Early Days in the Bureau
Chapter 2: Some New Vistas
Chapter 3: The RAAF Measures Upper Air Temperatures
Chapter 4: The Bureau Begins to Grow
Chapter 5: My Voyage in Discovery II
Chapter 6: The Birth of the Instrument Section
Chapter 7: Darwin Days
Chapter 8: I Leave the Bureau

History of Major Meteorological Installation in Australia from 1945 to 1981 by Reg Stout

Four Years in the RAAF Meteorological Service by Keith Swan

The Bureau of Meteorology in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s by Col Glendinning


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Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1929–1946 by Allan Cornish


Allan William Cornish was born in Fitzroy, a Melbourne suburb, on 11 November 1910. He began his career in the Bureau of Meteorology in December 1929 as a Meteorological Assistant, and in the fashion of those days, when meteorologists were trained on-the-job, he gained meteorological insight from more experienced people in the Bureau and by studying the meteorological literature available at that time.

When he joined the Bureau he had completed one year in the Engineering Faculty at the University of Melbourne. In parallel with his work in the Bureau, Allan continued his academic education by attending university lectures in the evening and studying at night.

As he developed his academic background, senior staff in the Bureau were impressed by his intelligence and his enterprise and he was chosen to make a voyage in Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters in Discovery II, a Royal Navy oceanographic research vessel. At that time he had been working with Henry Barkley as a research assistant.

After his return from that voyage he became involved in a variety of duties which culminated in the establishment of the first Instrument Section in the Bureau.

In the early days of World War II, Allan's imagination and enthusiasm were central to the establishment of a radiosonde network by the RAAF Meteorological Service. This involved the development of a system of generation of hydrogen, the installation of ground stations for receiving the data transmitted from radiosondes and arrangements for the manufacture of radiosondes in Australia. Very recently I learnt from Nan Gaby, who was a member of the Women's Australian Auxiliary Air Force (WAAAF), that she was one of three WAAAFs involved in the hydrogen generation episode on the roof of No 2 Drummond Street which Allan recalls in his memoirs.

Towards the end of the war Allan made use of what was then a somewhat secret gun-laying radar to make experimental observations of upper winds. At that time he also served in Darwin as Area Meteorological Officer.

People in Bright Sparcs - Cornish, Allan William

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Cornish, A., Stout, R., Swan, K and Glendinning, C. 1996 'Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 8 February 1996, Bureau of Meteorology

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