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Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology


Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1929–1946 by Allan Cornish

History of Major Meteorological Installation in Australia from 1945 to 1981 by Reg Stout
Major Installation Projects Involving 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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History of Major Meteorological Installation in Australia from 1945 to 1981 by Reg Stout (continued)

After the test at Emu Field it was decided to shift the test site to Maralinga 20 miles north of Watson on the main railway line across the Nullarbor. The British required a meteorological site at the test area at Maralinga. This suited the Australian meteorological staff serving out in the desert area about 600 miles (960 km) west of Alice Springs.

Bureau of Meteorology Assistant Director V. J. Bahr accompanied a party to the area where Giles the explorer visited many years ago. It was decided that a meteorological station be established for 10 men. The station was called Giles and had to be ready for the Maralinga project.

I worked at Salisbury, South Australia, with the Department of Works designing the powerhouse, staff quarters, meteorological buildings. These were all prefabricated buildings.

Don Handcock and I flew from Alice Springs in a small chartered plane, landed on a clay pan and proceeded to peg out the sites for the buildings which were on the way by road. Forty tradesmen were on site for eight weeks and I flew in and out until the station was completed. I then installed the Met facilities and the radar and handed over to the Meteorological Officer-in-Charge.

I later arrived at Maralinga and discovered on my arrival that the Met was not on the priority list sheet. L. J. Dwyer arranged a meeting with Sir William Penny who had brought out from England a modified time base for the special gun laying radar for calculating the upper winds. He took nothing for granted. He had the radar, the Canberra aircraft and the Camera Obscuras, and all had to agree before he decided to let the test proceed.

However, I took this opportunity to request the Met be on the priority list and Sir William Penny said it shall be done. The next morning the Met was number two on the list and I had 20 army men waiting for me to allot jobs, like laying remote control cables and erection of tower etc. We certainly got things moving. Sir William had his radar going and everything went well. I wanted to go back home but Henry Phillpot requested I stay in case the radar became faulty.

People in Bright Sparcs - Bahr, Victor John; Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Handcock, Don; Phillpot, Henry Robert; Stout, Reginald William (Reg)

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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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