Page 567
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

History of Major Meteorological Installation in Australia from 1945 to 1981 by Reg Stout

Four Years in the RAAF Meteorological Service by Keith Swan
Enlistment in the RAAF, July 1941
Meteorological Observer Training, January-April 1942
Meteorological Observer, May-December 1942
Learning to Forecast, January-July 1943
Forecasting in Victoria, July-October 1943
Tropical Forecasting in New Guinea, October 1943-February 1945
Temperate East Coast Forecasting, February 1945-January 1946
Evaluating the Service

The Bureau of Meteorology in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s by Col Glendinning


Contact us

Tropical Forecasting in New Guinea, October 1943-February 1945

Early in October 1943 I was posted to No 45 Operational Base Unit (OBU) at Port Moresby, my pay book revealing that my first pay there was on 10 November. It was a long haul by train from Melbourne to Townsville, but an unforgettable one. I was fortunate to travel by regular passenger services, usually in a sleeping berth, but had a short break with my parents and my wife and two children near Newcastle. At Albury I was given some splendid advice by the conductor of the sleeping car, who urged me to go to bed immediately without walking along the carriages to talk with friends. How good his advice was! Within a few minutes he had knocked and opened my door, to say 'Oh! You are already in bed, sir!', to the chagrin of a wing commander who was looking over his shoulder hoping to remove me from the sleeping car in spite of my booking. The three-day journey from Brisbane to Townsville by the Sunshine Express seemed interminable; and we were amused at those times when the train crew would judiciously divide the very long train, and take the front carriages to a siding above the steep incline, returning later to repossess us; but we greatly admired the achievements of a rather antiquated rail system in such critical times. That the express arrived in Townsville about 12 hours late mattered little at that time.

Our office at Port Moresby was pleasantly located at Konedobu overlooking the bay, and our living quarters were most acceptable. The equipment was modern, including the radiosonde equipment for providing vital information about the upper atmosphere introduced to us while on course in 1943, and soon introduced at about ten or a dozen stations in Northern Australia and New Guinea. Generating the hydrogen for inflating the large balloon to which the radiosonde unit was attached was a messy business, but our non-commissioned observers took care of that. The signals or wireless telegraphy unit was located next to us, so we received the three-hourly reports from the mainland of Australia and from our New Guinea stations promptly.

People in Bright Sparcs - Swan, Keith

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