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Table of Contents

Memories of the Bureau, 1946 to 1962



J. W. Zillman Director of Meteorology
The Seven Stages in the Life and Career of Dr W. J. Gibbs
The Meteorological Legacy of Dr Gibbs
Dr Gibb's Career—An Appreciation


Chapter 1: The Warren Years, 1946 to 1950

Chapter 2: International Meteorology

Chapter 3: The Timcke Years, 1950 to 1955

Chapter 4: A Year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chapter 5: The Dwyer Years, 1955 to 1962

Chapter 6: A Springboard for the Future

Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Reports, Papers, Manuscripts

Appendix 3: Milestones

Appendix 4: Acknowledgements

Appendix 5: Summary by H. N. Warren of the Operation of the Meteorological Section of Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane, 1942–45



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J. W. Zillman Director of Meteorology

On Friday 11 October 1996 a function was held in the Melbourne Head Office of the Bureau of Meteorology to celebrate the eightieth birthday of Dr W. J. (Bill) Gibbs on 17 October 1996 and to pay tribute to the remarkable and enduring achievements of his thirty-nine year career in the Bureau.

On that occasion, it was my privilege to be called on to open the proceedings with a brief resume of Bill's life and career broken into what he himself characterised in a 1985 interview as its seven stages; and to introduce the subsequent presentations by three of his proteges in some of the many fields of national and international meteorology where he himself had pushed forward the frontiers and left an enduring legacy of Australian leadership and excellence. It was then still my hope that Bill would, in the seventh (retirement) stage of his career, complete the remarkable contribution to the history of Australian meteorology that began during his time in office with his widely referenced Historical Note on the 'Origins of Australian Meteorology' and continued in retirement with his role as Honorary Archivist, Executive Editor and principal author of the Metarch series of publications which he conceived and guided over the past twenty years—by telling the story of the people, issues and events that shaped the development of the Bureau during the sixteen years that he served as Director of Meteorology from 1962 to 1978.

After labouring for the past five years to draw together the memories of his many post-World War II colleagues and his own recollections of the development of the Bureau over the period 1946 to 1962, Dr Gibbs has concluded that the task of preparing a history of the Bureau from 1962 to 1978 should fall to others. It must, therefore, become a project for someone of my generation and for the future. But it means, also, that I must take the occasion of the publication of Metarch 13, to supplement the Foreword by the Rt Hon J. D. (Doug) Anthony with a brief account of the entirety of Bill's career including especially its sixth stage, 1962–1978, covering his period as Director of Meteorology; and to place on record the Bureau's indebtedness to him for the outstanding contribution he has made to the recorded history of Australian meteorology over the twenty years since his retirement. I will do this, as I did on the occasion of his eightieth birthday celebrations, by first tracing the highlights of each of the seven stages of his career and then offering a summary appreciation of his thirty-nine years in the Bureau as seen by those of us who inherited the opportunities opened up by the extraordinary contribution which he made to so many facets of Australian and international meteorology.

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

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Gibbs, W. J. 1999 'A Very Special Family: Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1946 to 1962', Metarch Papers, No. 13 May 1999, Bureau of Meteorology

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