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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
A Period of Consolidation
Aviation Services
Services for the General Public
Rockets and Atomic Weapons
Instruments and Observations
Climate and Statistics
International Activities
Central Analysis and Development
The Universities
The Meteorology Act
Achievements of the Timcke Years

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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Climate and Statistics (continued)

As Melbourne offered better opportunities they moved there to seek employment. By chance Albina was interviewed by Joe Radich, an officer of the Immigration Department in Melbourne who had formerly worked in the Bureau and was well known to many of us. Joe sent her to the employment office where a female employee phoned Des Halsted who was wanting to employ punch-card operators. Des tested Albina on her ability to operate a card punching machine to record data. She was easily able to demonstrate this despite not having seen the machine before. On 13 November 1950 she became the first of a number of 'new Australian' ladies to operate machines to punch cards to record meteorological data.

The Hollerith cards contained 80 columns in which holes were punched to record data. The position of the hole punched in the column registered the number to be recorded and the columns were allocated for the recording of values of pressure, temperature, wind etc and identification of station location, time, date, etc.

Different sets of cards were used to record the results of meteorological observations at the surface and in the upper air (by radiosonde and pilot balloon and radar wind-finding).

The punch-card section grew rapidly as more and more operators were recruited, all with a similar background as that of Albina but each with their own particular story and nationality. They were from at least eight different countries—Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

They were accommodated in a newly acquired but somewhat dilapidated two-storey building in Wills Street in the northern part of the city. Opposite was the Salvation Army Gill Memorial Home for destitute men, many of whom were chronic alcoholics. It was not a salubrious location. It had no heating and was extremely cold in winter. Staff kindled makeshift fires fuelled by discarded punch-cards, 'Nap' Napier produced some ineffectual kerosene heaters and some staff brought portable electric radiators from home.

Des Halsted's staff also included Margaret Pinkerton (Pinky) who supervised the punch-card operators and Fred Leake who provided guidance. Others who served in the Statistical Section were Jack Hogan (not to be confused with the two J. Hogans previously mentioned), Jack Mansfield and Maurice White.

There were many visitors. To say that some invented reasons for their visits would be ungrateful, although it must be admitted that the ladies were friendly and charming. From time to time informal celebrations of birthdays or holidays would attract many colleagues from other Sections. Albina remembers Andy Garriock, Tom Hall, Frank Hannan, J. V. (Jack) Maher, Alan Martin, Arthur Muffatti and Dick White as those whose work frequently brought them into contact with the punch-card ladies.

People in Bright Sparcs - Hall, Thomas Taylor (Tom); Maher, John Vincent (Jack); Marceglia, Albina Zora; Muffatti, A. H. (Arthur); Timcke, Edward Waldemar

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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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