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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)

But the ladies were hard working and the supply of punch-cards grew. Albina and her husband saved enough to buy a block of land in the Melbourne suburb of Reservoir and with what further savings they made they built a house, room by room. All of the other ladies were no doubt building their lives in a new country in various ways.

I am not sure when two new pieces of Hollerith equipment were installed or where they were located. These were the sorter and tabulator which enabled the cards to be sorted and their contents printed. The additional flexibility in statistical analysis afforded by these machines was amazing. I was particularly interested in the use of the sorter and tabulator to produce frequency analyses and this, with the help of Uwe Radok, from the Meteorological Section of the University of Melbourne, enabled the plotting of frequency distributions on probability paper. These plots revealed a new view of probability of occurrence of meteorological events.

The departure of Des Halsted to the Department of Air in the early 1950s in search of wider opportunities for promotion came at a time when E. W. Timcke was experiencing considerable difficulty in fulfilling Warren's expectations. The restraints imposed by the Public Service Board and Treasury made it difficult to meet the demands for meteorological service for the AWRE nuclear weapons tests. After some temporary staffing arrangements for managing the Statistical Section Gerry O'Mahony was transferred to the position from the Perth Divisional Office in 1953.

Des Halsted was a brilliant, innovative and energetic young man and his replacement was equally impressive. Gerry O'Mahony, born in 1915, had a sparkling wit, a penetrating intellect and a dedication to getting things done. Gerry joined the Bureau's Divisional Office in Perth in 1940 after an apprenticeship as a clerk in the PMG's Department. He donned RAAF uniform when the Bureau became the RAAF Meteorological Service and was a member of a forecasters' training course in Melbourne before serving at various RAAF stations as a forecaster.

After the war Gerry studied at university in his spare time. In the Statistical Section in Melbourne he applied himself to the task of using quality control to ensure that the data recorded on punch-cards was accurate and homogeneous.

We shall hear more in Chapter 5 of the significant contributions made by Gerry, both from the scientific point of view and also in the development of the Bureau.

People in Bright Sparcs - O'Mahony, Gerard (Gerry); Timcke, Edward Waldemar; Warren, Herbert Norman

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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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