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Table of Contents

History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology




Chapter 1: Germination and Growth

Chapter 2: Struggle, Competition and Emergence

Appendix 1: Meteorology Act 1906

Appendix 2: Meteorology Act 1955

Appendix 3: Simpson Report

Appendix 4: Survey Questionnaire

Appendix 5: Bibliography



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Stormy Weather: A History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology


In 1994, Dr John Zillman, Commonwealth Director of Meteorology, passed me a copy of an M.Sc thesis by John Gardner on the history of research in the Bureau of Meteorology.

John Gardner was born in Sydney in 1949, attended school in Sydney, Herberton (Qld) and Launceston before joining the Department of Immigration in 1968. He joined the Hobart Regional Office of the Bureau of Meteorology in 1969 as a Weather Assistant and then was one of the first trainee Observers to undertake a new year-long course in surface and upper air observations.

After completing the course, during which he spent the Christmas break working in the Bureau's Darwin Regional Office, John worked in Perth, Forrest and New Guinea, with periods working in Port Moresby, Rabaul and Momote (as Officer-in-Charge). At the end of his stint in New Guinea he was transferred to Darwin where he commenced work on a Bachelor of Economics degree with the external studies section of the University of Queensland. During his duty at Darwin, John experienced the drama of Cyclone Tracy and remained at Darwin until he was transferred to Hobart Airport, where he moved with his spouse Juliet in 1976.

Yet another move meant that John was transferred to Rockhampton in 1978 where he worked until transfer to Melbourne for a Technical Officer training course in 1980. On completing the course John was posted to Brisbane Airport where he worked for more than seven years, during which he had temporary transfers to Townsville, Mt Isa, Rockhampton and Oakey. It was during this time he completed his B.Ec degree. After some thought, John decided to remain with the Bureau rather than embark on a new career.

John next moved to Mt Isa as a Technical Officer Grade 2 where he and Juliet spent 10 months before he was assigned to Moorabbin Airport meteorological office as Officer-in-Charge. Another interesting assignment was as summer forecaster for eight weeks at Dovers Base in the Prince Charles Mountains in Antarctica. His Antarctic experience has inspired John to aspire to work there throughout a winter sometime in the future.

People in Bright Sparcs - Gibbs, William James (Bill); Zillman, John William

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Gardner, J. 1997 'Stormy Weather: A History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 11 December 1997, 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