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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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Automatic Telephone Forecast Service

The first automatic telephone forecast service in Australia commenced in Melbourne on 21 October 1957. Although an automatic telephone dialling system had been in operation in capital cities for many years the novelty of the automatic telephone forecast system lay in the availability of a recorded version of the forecast for the Melbourne area for subscribers dialling M064 on their telephones. The Bureau had hoped to commence the service in 1955 to be available at the time of the Olympic Games held in Melbourne in 1956 but the PMG's Department (responsible for the telephones service at that time) had found other Olympic requirements for improved telephone services delayed development of the new service.

The new system operated by transmitting the forecast by teletype from the Bureau's Divisional Office to the main PMG trunk exchange in Melbourne where the voice of one of a team of specially trained telephonists was recorded on a drum. The recording lasted about 45 seconds.

The teletyped forecast transmitted from the Bureau to the PMG was updated six times daily or more frequently if required by significant weather changes. During the first week of operation the M064 service averaged 20 000 calls a day and it was necessary to connect 10 additional lines to avoid all lines being engaged.

This service was popular because the forecast it contained was more up to date than those transmitted at fixed times by radio or television or those available in newspapers.

Members of the public could telephone the weather room of the Divisional Office but forecasting staff were often busy with the task of formulating and writing the forecast. Dialling M064 gave the public more ready access to the latest forecast. Weather room staff also had the advantage of freedom of interruption from telephone callers and were able to respond to telephone calls from users of the Bureau services who required more specialised or detailed information.

By February 1959 over four million calls had been made to M064 and over 74 500 calls were made on 20 January of that year when a cool change was expected following a spell of hot weather. The system was progressively extended to other capital cities and in the year 1960–61 almost 7 500 000 calls were made, with over 3 700 000 in Melbourne, almost two million in Sydney, almost 850 000 in Adelaide, half a million in Perth, almost 250 000 in Brisbane and about 150 000 in Hobart.

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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