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Table of Contents

Memories of the Bureau, 1946 to 1962





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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This story of the Bureau of Meteorology in the period 1946–62 was originally intended to record my reminiscences of what was a memorable period in the Bureau's history.

Metarch Papers No 7, which focussed on my time in the RAAF Meteorological Service, contains some notes on my childhood, university years, my joining the Bureau in 1939, some general remarks on early Bureau history and my experiences in the RAAF Meteorological Service during the war of 1939–1945. One of my former Bureau of Meteorology colleagues expressed surprise that those reminiscences had nothing but praise for the people mentioned therein. I saw no point in recalling human frailties from which we all suffer to some degree. I endeavoured to write those reminiscences from the viewpoint of a young man in his twenties, without the wisdom of any hindsight I might have had some 50 or more years later.

Having limited resources and time for research in writing this story of the Bureau from 1946 to 1962 I decided to ask about 30–40 present and former members to provide some notes on their own careers and those of their colleagues. The responses to my requests (acknowledged in Appendix 4) were beyond my most optimistic expectations and I spent many hours analysing the material provided. I also consulted references in libraries of the Bureau and other institutions in addition to a vast collection of publications and notes I have accumulated over more than 55 years.

One of the most fruitful sources of information was the Bureau's house journal Weather News which, although it was first issued in August 1955, contains information relating to earlier periods. An index of items in Weather News from August 1956 to December 1982 appears in the Bureau's Metarch Papers No 1 of February 1986. Subsequent issues of the Metarch Papers also contain much valuable historical material.

What I had originally intended to be a collection of my personal reminiscences has become a history based on those memories, on notes from meteorological colleagues and on published and unpublished material from a wide variety of sources. Some of this material is listed in Appendixes 1 and 2. Appendix 3 lists milestones in meteorology in the period 1853 to 1962, some general, some relating to the Bureau of Meteorology and some to my own career. The main motivation in writing these memoirs has been the urge to pay tribute to the remarkable people who were involved in the development of meteorology in Australia between 1946 and 1962.

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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