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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
The Struggle for Recognition
International Involvement
Local Cooperation
The Bureau Goes Solo

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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Research Within the Bureau (continued)

Stung by this attack, Timcke [75] responded by noting that the division of responsibility for meteorological research in Australia was decided by a group comprising a number of eminent scientists and that, as a result, the Bureau was to a large degree inhibited from undertaking much fundamental work in this area, which had now been handed over to the CSIRO and the University of Melbourne. Once again, the Simpson report was offered as a further justification of this position, as was the restriction in the numbers of suitable staff. It might be said that such a use of the Simpson report vindicated to some extent the comments contained in Martin's letter. Timcke was also going against the opinions of Simpson's successors in the British organisation (Gibbs [31]).

Timcke[75] stated that the Bureau was more than willing to take advantage of any of the achievements of the two research organisations which proved to be of value to the practice of meteorology. He also argued that as a service organisation the Bureau was not bound to select the most scientifically qualified person to fill its senior positions as other administrative considerations had to be taken into account. At the same time he noted that a number of very well academically qualified staff occupied positions only slightly below those of the most senior officers from whom they were gaining administrative experience.

The battle to achieve scientific credibility advanced a step further in 1955, with the passage of the Meteorology Act 1955. This new Act finally brought the powers and functions of the Bureau into the twentieth century and tidied up a number of legal anomalies contained in the original Act (see Appendix 2).

At Timcke's request a new clause, subsection (g) of Section 6, was inserted into the new Act which made provision for "the promotion of the advancement of meteorological science, by means of meteorological research and investigation or otherwise". By this time it had become accepted, in both Australia and overseas, that advances in the science of meteorology would bring widespread benefits to the economy generally and to such sectors as aviation and agriculture in particular (WMO [90]). Obviously the Bureau wanted to ensure that it had a recognised role in the conduct of any such work in this country. By this time, Bureau management had finally convinced the government of the need to inject further funding into the organisation if the Bureau was to have any hope of properly undertaking such a task. It fell to Timcke's successor, Len Dywer, to plan and manage the major overhaul of the Bureau's facilities, staff and management systems required prior to the commencement of a respectable research program.

People in Bright Sparcs - Timcke, Edward Waldemar

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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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