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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)

If the grain size was too coarse the reaction would proceed too slowly; if it was too fine it reacted too quickly. At one stage there was a terrific shortage of ferrosilicon and I signed a release note to accept some fine grained material. It worked all right provided the operators were able to get the stopper on the cylinder soon after inserting the ferrosilicon and caustic soda. One day on the roof of the Frosterley building the operators were a bit slow attaching the stopper. The reaction occurred quickly and blew the stopper with attached release valve and pressure gauge into the air. It landed on the nature strip in the middle of Drummond Street (see note re Nan Gaby in foreword—Ed). Fortunately there was no damage to people or property.

Townsville radiosonde station commenced operation in 1943 when Les Bourke was there.

From 1943 to 1947 the radiosonde airborne transmitters were manufactured by Radio Corporation in South Melbourne. AWA won the contract in 1948. By the middle of 1944 the radiosonde network in Australia had grown to about ten stations. I can remember Alice Springs, Amberley, Cloncurry, Charleville, Darwin, Parafield, Port Moresby, Pearce, Rathmines and Townsville.

The PMG superheterodyne receiver was put into quantity production in 1943. About 12 were built under contract by A. G. Healing.

Radio Corporation mass produced the airborne radiosonde transmitters under licence from Julian P. Friez. When AWA won the contract in 1948 they renegotiated the licence agreement. I left the Bureau before AWA got into production.

The first ferrosilicon was used for the generator in about 1942.

When the Spitfire fighter aircraft came to Australia they had the code name Capstan because their arrival was hush-hush. They had modified the Spitfire to put a bigger oil filter on it and this had disturbed the position en or of the pilot static head. They were trying desperately to determine correction for position error. Squires and I devised a method to measure true air speed and the problem was solved.

Pat Squires had a remarkable brain. One day I was investigating a problem that Pat and I were working on and I thought I had found the answer. I said 'I think I've got it'. He looked over my shoulder, saw what I had written and said 'it's a divergent series, you're wasting your time'. I said 'how the hell can you tell that ?'.

People in Bright Sparcs - Cornish, Allan William; Squires, Patrick; 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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