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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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With the establishment of BMRC, the ghost of Sir George Simpson has finally been laid to rest. Within this Centre the researchers can generally pursue their own lines of inquiry largely untrammelled by the daily exigencies of the operational side of the organisation. At the same time, there is the opportunities for the frequent exchange of information, ideas, experience and staff between the two sectors of the Bureau and other workers in the wider scientific community.

This is what Sir George was hoping to achieve when he created his pool of research posts within the Meteorological Office. His system failed due to outside pressures on the Office for a rapid expansion in the provision of services, pressures which he could not withstand. It is to be hoped that future governments continue to recognise the value of BMRC and do not bring to premature end an organisation which has trodden such a difficult path towards national and international recognition.

And it could so easily happen. The Bureau's heyday occurred during the 1960s when it was in a department under the control of a Country Party minister and a sympathetic Departmental Secretary, Dick Kingsland. Since then, the only minister to display a similar commitment was the Honourable Barry Jones and that was only due to his personal interest in the greenhouse effect and a belief that the Bureau was one of the few organisations with the capacity to research the topic (Jones in a personal communication).

If concern for the environment fades in the face of rising unemployment and declining economic growth then the Bureau will, once more, be confronted by a level of support similar to that which it received during its first three decades and, most recently, during the period 1975–87. This will again, place severe pressure on its ability to service the requirements of an expanding population and simultaneously maintain an active scientific research program, possibly forcing it to rethink its support for BMRC.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre

People in Bright Sparcs - Kingsland, Richard

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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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