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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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Chapter 2: Some New Vistas

For about three or four years I worked very closely with Barkley who was very knowledgeable for a person without formal academic qualifications. He had a surprising insight into statistics. At that time there was no statistics course at The University of Melbourne. I think Bell commenced lectures on statistics there about 1936.

Barkley had a large number of pads of probability charts printed. If a frequency distribution were plotted on these charts one could determine whether it was a normal distribution or whether the logarithms of the values were normally distributed. I plotted hundreds of these frequency distributions. Barkley tutored me on statistics and the use of these charts. We examined rainfall distributions. Barkley was most interested in the variability of rainfall.

Archer, who was Public Service Inspector, Victoria, made a very serious study of statistics at The University of Melbourne in his spare time when Bell started the course. Hogan (1896–1970) was a friend of Archer's and I was privileged to learn from their exchanges. About this time the Kiewa water storage scheme was being planned and the then State Electricity Commission employed a Swedish engineer who had knowledge of dam sizes and run-offs. He spent two years up in the snow country and a lot of time at the Bureau with Barkley. I did a lot of work for this Swede, producing dozens of mass curves of run-off and precipitation

I learnt a lot working with Barkley and the Swede. Just before the two arms of the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge were joined we made a detailed study of frequency distributions of wind gusts and this was extended for an analysis of wind gusts all around Australia. I think he published the results of these studies.

People in Bright Sparcs - Archer, William Henry; Cornish, Allan William; Hogan, John

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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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