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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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Dr Gibb's Career—An Appreciation

It is, I believe, fitting to conclude this brief overview of Bill Gibbs's career in meteorology as a prologue to his own detailed memories of the Bureau of Meteorology from 1946–1962 with a few words of appreciation of his life's contribution which, I hope, may capture something of the admiration, respect and affection felt by those of the generation of Bureau officers whose own lives and careers benefited so greatly from the influence and legacy of his.

Although his life's work has been honoured in many ways—his award of an Honorary Doctorate from Melbourne University in 1965, an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1968, Fellowship of the (then) Australian Academy of Technological Sciences in 1978, the IMO (International Meteorological Organization) Prize in 1982, establishment of the W. J. Gibbs Prize in 1996, among others—none of these can adequately reflect or record the depth and breadth of his engagement in the major issues of Australian, southern hemisphere and global meteorology over the past sixty years or the dedication and energy with which he guided their development and shaped the meteorological world in ways of which he, and those who shared his vision and commitment, can feel forever proud.

Bill was no ordinary meteorologist and certainly no ordinary public servant. When it was in the interests of the Bureau and the Australian community that he work closely with other individuals and organisations, he did so with boundless energy, enthusiasm and goodwill. When it was necessary to fight uncompromisingly on issues of principle and in defence of the long-term good of the Bureau and the betterment of Australian meteorology, he did so with a strength of will and resilience that few could match.

Through the integrity of his scientific leadership and the generosity of his personality, Bill enhanced the stature of Australian meteorology on the international scene in ways that brought great and enduring benefits to this country and allowed much of the credit for his achievements to flow to others. To him alone, however, must pass the ultimate credit for the immense wisdom built into the operation of the Bureau of Meteorology that he passed on to my generation and which enabled it to survive the trials and traumas of the 1980s and 90s and be handed on in turn, with most of its basic values and culture intact, to those who will carry the heavy responsibility of guiding the Bureau through the early decades of the twenty-first century.

That all this has been possible, and has come to pass in the most difficult of times, stands as the ultimate tribute to the extraordinary role that Bill Gibbs himself played in forging the values and traditions of the very special family that he describes in the Preface and Chapters which follow.

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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