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Table of Contents

History of Research in the Bureau of Meteorology




Chapter 1: Germination and Growth
The First Three Decades
A Time of Rapid 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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Chapter 1: Germination and Growth

The First Three Decades

This chapter deals with the Bureau's story for the period from its inception in 1906 to the end of World War II. It will show how the influence of science on the Bureau's practices was very much regulated by the fact that the first two directors did not have a strong scientific background. Other factors at work were the Public Service Board (PSB) regulations and the empirical nature of international meteorology as it was practiced during that period.

The first two decades were characterised by very slow growth in staff and services, whilst the organisation put its house in order. Little physical meteorological research was undertaken during this stage, except for the period of Edward Kidson's tenure of the position of Assistant Director, Research.

The late 1930s and early 1940s witnessed major increases in both personnel and services as the Bureau sought to satisfy firstly the needs of an expanding civil aviation industry followed by the demands placed on it by the exigencies of war. By this time some science had been incorporated into forecasting practices, but it was mainly confined to the Head Office in Melbourne.

The Bureau had only limited contact with the universities or other research groups during this period. This aside, any advice it was proffered at those meetings which did take place was not well received anyway, due to the lack properly trained scientists within the department at the time.

People in Bright Sparcs - Kidson, Edward

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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
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