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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
Leonard Joseph Dwyer—A Complex Character
Reorganising the Bureau
Public Weather Services
Forecasts for the General Public
Importance of Radio Stations
The Advent of Television
Automatic Telephone Forecast Service
Wording and Verification of Forecasts
Services for Aviation
Atomic Weapons Tests
Atomic Weapons Tests—Mosaic G1 and G2
Atomic Weapons Tests—Buffalo 1, 2, 3 and 4
Atomic Weapons Tests—Operations Antler, 2 and 3
Atomic Weapons Tests—Minor Trials
Instruments and Observations
Radar/Radio Winds and Radar Weather Watch
Automatic Weather Stations
Meteorological Satellites
Tropical Cyclones
Bureau Conference on Tropical Cyclones
International Symposium on Tropical Cyclones, Brisbane
Design of Water Storages, Etc
Flood Forecasting
Cloud Seeding
Reduction of Evaporation
Rain Seminar
Cloud Physics
Fire Weather
Research and Special Investigations
International Activities
The International Geophysical Year
The Antarctic and Southern Ocean
International Symposium on Antarctic Meteorology
International Antarctic Analysis Centre
ADP, EDP and Computers
Management Conference
Services Conference
CSIRO and the Universities
Achievements of the Dwyer Years

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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Leonard Joseph Dwyer—A Complex Character

Len Dwyer was born in Geelong, Victoria, on 1 December 1907. Educated at St Kevin's Christian Brothers College and the University of Melbourne, he graduated B.Sc. in mathematics and physics and also gained a Diploma in Public Administration. He also studied accountancy and was an Associate of the Australian Society of Accountants.

L. J. Dwyer

Figure 27 L. J. Dwyer, Director of Meteorology 1955–62.

Early in his career he worked as an accountant and a journalist before he joined the Bureau in 1937.

I have given these paragraphs the title "Leonard Joseph Dwyer—a complex character" because he was a man of many parts. He served as a company commander in the Army Militia from October 1939 to February 1940 and had the bearing and air of authority of an army officer.

He could be extremely brusque at times and highly abrasive when irritated. He tended to use colourful language after consuming a few beers and on one social occasion when Audrey and I were entertaining delegates to an Antarctic symposium in our home, Len's language became so earthy that I quietly suggested to him that perhaps it was time for him to go home. Next day some of the US delegates who had overheard my advice to Len the previous evening expressed surprise that I should speak so frankly to my boss. It was to Len's great credit that he had readily agreed with my suggestion that he should leave our party and subsequently displayed no rancour regarding my action.

Although Len's forthright behaviour caused offence to some Bureau staff and some other people, I believe it was the result of his eagerness to achieve urgently required changes in organisation and his irritation with any delay in reaching his objectives. Many people realised that it was this impatience which drove his forthright communication with his staff and other people. He did not suffer fools or sycophants gladly. He welcomed vigorous debate and encouraged a critical attitude in others. It was interesting that his direct, forthright and sometimes blunt demeanour won him and the Bureau many influential friends in political, administrative and international arenas.

One of the most rewarding of Len's initiatives was his flair for promoting communication between staff within the Bureau and between Bureau staff and their customers. He encouraged communication with the Bureau's customers by issuing pamphlets and other publications to inform the general public and special users how Bureau services could be used to meet their particular needs. An example was the series of pamphlets he organised to celebrate the jubilee (50th anniversary) of the Bureau in 1958. He also convened conferences and seminars within the Bureau and with other authorities to discuss techniques and applications for providing and using meteorological services.

My assessment of the complex character of L. J. Dwyer is that his achievements far outweighed any damage to the Bureau that his blunt, direct, matter-of-fact attitude may have caused.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Leonard Joseph

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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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