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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 4: The Bureau Begins to Grow

Watt was senior to Barkley in the Commonwealth Public Service, but Barkley was appointed to the position of Commonwealth Meteorologist by Federal Cabinet after Hunt retired. Watt had been acting as Commonwealth Meteorologist immediately after Hunt retired and appealed against Barkley's appointment. He remained in the Director's chair pending the outcome of his appeal. The appeal was successful and Watt became Director of Meteorology. It was an enormous blow to Barkley. I think Richards became Assistant Director in Watt's position.

Soon after (about 1938) Barkley died suddenly of a heart attack. He had made a lot of proposals to the Public Service Board (PSB) recommending the expansion of the Bureau to meet the needs of civil aviation and the RAAF. The PSB was becoming embarrassed about their delay in dealing with these proposals and decided to appoint H. N. Warren (the Public Service Inspector for Tasmania) to the Bureau to handle the expansion of the Bureau which Barkley and others had recognised as an urgent requirement for aviation and defence. That is how Warren moved into place as Assistant Director.

Watt was a rather strange individual. He had a great sense of humour, could laugh at himself, but had something of the larrikin in his makeup. He was a personable, popular personality.

In the 1920s there had been a steady growth in civil aviation in Australia. Kingsford Smith had founded Australian National Airways (ANA) with tri-motored Fokkers. By the 1930s some aerodromes had been established near capital cities and in other places but there were few facilities to assist the aviator. The only ground based radio was an AWA station near the reservoir on Essendon aerodrome operated by a man named Gus Hart. Barkley was keen for the Bureau to assist by providing weather information. Over a period of about six months I made frequent visits to Essendon discussing weather problems with Gus Hart.

People in Bright Sparcs - Cornish, Allan William; Hunt, Henry Ambrose ; Richards, Alfred Stanley (Stan); Warren, Herbert Norman; Watt, William Shand

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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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