Page 529
Previous/Next Page
Federation and MeteorologyBureau of Meteorology
Table of Contents

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


Contact us

Chapter 6: The Birth of the Instrument Section (continued)

About that time I was hopeful of gaining a scholarship from the Harkness Commonwealth Fund of New York to enable me to further my academic studies in the US.

Richie Simmers of the New Zealand Meteorological Service had served in Discovery II on a voyage in Antarctic waters similar to mine. This was in 1936 when the US explorer Lincoln Ellsworth was lost while flying in the Antarctic. No wireless signals from him had been heard since he had landed near the Bay of Whales. Discovery II happened to be in our waters when the Americans sent a signal for help. It was agreed that Discovery II would come into Melbourne, fit up, take an aircraft and go and look for him. They found him in January 1937.

I first met Simmers when he was on Discovery II at that time. He had completed a course in meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) while a Commonwealth Fund Fellow. He told me all about his time at MIT.

It was in 1939, after I had made the inspection tour with Warren, that I first decided to apply for a Fellowship of the Commonwealth Fund of New York. My application was unsuccessful.

At that time the Instrument Section was growing rapidly. Bill Boswell was doing an MSc course at The University of Melbourne on cathode ray direction finding of lightning strikes. His supervisor at the University was Laby.

During his work on his thesis Bill Boswell developed an association with the Bureau. About this time the famous Nobel prizewinning cosmic ray scientist Robert Millikan came to Australia and requested assistance in his work. Boswell and I were sent to Sydney to assist him. On arrival in Sydney we went to the Australia Hotel where his wife told us she couldn't interrupt the professor because he was timing the lecture he was to give over the ABC that night.

So she introduced us to two of his assistants, Mayer and Pickering. We went to Kings Cross and had a session with Millikan on the facilities available for research in Australia.

The Bureau was transferred from the Department of Interior to the Department of Air about that time. Warren's approach was that all Bureau staff should be members of the RAAF Meteorological Service—Meteorological Charters, Observers, Meteorological Assistants, Weather Officers and Meteorologists.

People in Bright Sparcs - Cornish, Allan William; Laby, Thomas Howell; Warren, Herbert Norman

Previous Page Bureau of Meteorology Next Page

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
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher