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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 6: The Birth of the Instrument Section (continued)

Twadell, Minter and Warren were respectively in charge of the three meteorological services in Australia attached to USAF, US Navy and RAAF. They decided to pool their resources in establishing a radiosonde network in the South-West Pacific. The ground equipment at Hamilton Reach was a Friez which came out of their own store. Trevor Housley, PMG Divisional Engineer, provided us with support for the installation of the ground equipment at Hamilton Reach.

We went to Townsville and installed ground equipment at Garbutt. Then we went to New Guinea in March 1943, and installed one at Port Moresby. That was when I met Jim Williams and experienced an air-raid.

We then installed ground equipments at Darwin, Charleville and Cloncurry. Vic Bahr was in Charleville. I remember the day he married Kay, who was working in Charleville. Vic was kept very busy. There was a lot of air traffic through Charleville, which had a very large aerodrome.

Dimmy and I slept out at the strip. In the evening we went in and had our evening meal at the Charleville pub. The local Warrego Men's Club made itinerant officers honorary members of their Club. It was the middle of winter, beautiful days and bloody cold nights. On the way to the pub, driving in a jeep from the Charleville strip (where we worked at night on the radiosonde) we would call in at the Warrego Club. At the bar we would get a schooner glass with a double rum in it which we would fill with hot milk from a jug on the bar. We would sit round the bar sipping this before we went to the pub for a meal.

In 1942 Max Cassidy prepared a radiosonde handbook. At this time WAAAF Charters were used to plot the results of radiosonde ascents on charts F77.

The Victorian State Railways Government Printer printed the radiosonde handbook.

Release of radiosonde transmitters from the Bureau roof was made difficult due to turbulence caused by buildings in the vicinity. Transmitters were finally tied very close to the balloon to avoid the transmitters striking the buildings in the vicinity.

Hydrogen generation equipment was used on the roof of Bureau building. The grain size of the ferrosilicon dictated the speed at which the reaction occurred in generating hydrogen. It was an exothermic reaction, and if it proceeded rapidly the cylinder got pretty hot.

People in Bright Sparcs - Bahr, Victor John; Cornish, Allan William; Warren, Herbert Norman

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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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