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Origins of Australian Meteorology



The Origins of Australian Meteorology

Appendix 1: Chronological Chart of Early Meteorologists



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Foreword (continued)

In fact, the groundwork for Federation within the meteorological community was already well underway in 1879 and the Melbourne Meteorological Conferences of 1881 and 1888, despite a certain amount of rivalry amongst the participants, had agreed on the essentiality of national coordination and uniformity in meteorological activities. The debate in the Federal Parliament on 1 August 1906 spoke volumes for the understanding of meteorological matters amongst the Parliamentarians of the day and the vision with which they addressed the challenge of establishing a national meteorological service for an infant nation: "In our present complex civilization, when interests are so inter-involved and world-wide, the discovery and formulation of laws governing the weather are of first importance. To obtain an accurate meteorological system throughout Australia, the Government would be justified in incurring almost any expenditure. To all sections of the community the matter is one of great importance—to those interested in commerce, transportation, navigation, agriculture, and trade of all descriptions. In short, it concerns everybody whose living and comfort depend upon the seasons and upon the weather. It is so far-reaching that it should be dealt with upon comprehensive lines. If the service is to be a useful one it should stretch out over all this continent, and be conducted in the most thorough manner" (Mr McColl, Member for Echuca, Hansard of 1 August 1906 p 2149).

These, however, are events whose retelling must await another publication. Suffice it to note here that Australia's early twentieth century meteorologists lived up to the Parliament's expectations of them and established a truly national meteorological infrastructure and traditions of dedication and professionalism which remain an inspiration to the present day. All of us are indebted to Dr Gibbs for this eloquent beginning of a story which still goes on and in which he himself was later to play a leading part. I hope this Metarch publication will help bring to another generation of Australian meteorologists, the pride which they should rightly feel in the origins of Australian meteorology.

John Zillman
Director of Meteorology

June 1998

People in Bright Sparcs - Zillman, John William

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Gibbs, W. J. 1998 'The Origins of Australian Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 12 June 1998, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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