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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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Services for Aviation

There is no doubt that Commonwealth expenditure on the Bureau in the Warren, Timcke and Dwyer years enabled the issue of forecasts and warnings which saved lives and damage to property. Perhaps the most significant savings occurred in aviation economy and safety.

Appendix 3 (which identifies milestones in the Bureau's development) lists the major developments in domestic and international aviation in the Dwyer years. Chapters 1 and 3 have described how in the late 1940s and early 1950s civil aviation depended largely on wartime aircraft converted for the use of civilian passengers until the rapidly growing aircraft industry produced high-flying pressurised piston-engined aircraft and developed even higher-flying turbo-prop and turbo-jet aircraft. Chapter 3 also tells how the British DH106 Comet jet airliner made a spectacularly successful debut in 1952, only to be withdrawn from service in 1954 after a series of crashes which, after having first been attributed to pilot error, were found to be the result of structural failure.

Gerry O'Mahony tells me that he and J. V. Maher flew in a British Airways DH106 Comet which on arrival in Darwin suffered considerable damage to the landing gear when the pilot landed heavily. They proceeded to Melbourne on another aircraft.

Gerry has also mentioned that when he worked in the Bureau's Statistical Section in Melbourne during the Timcke years he was very proud to be able to program the Hollerith sorter and tabulator to produce an analysis of headwind and crosswind components at Australian airports where it was planned to operate the DH106 Comet.

Chapter 3 also mentions that the British Vickers Aircraft Company had developed and test flown its turbo-prop Viscount aircraft as early as July 1948. TAA introduced it into Australian domestic service in December 1954. About the same time another British aircraft company, Bristol, had built and test flown the four-engined Britannia turbo-prop which was also seen on Australian airports on international flights.

By 1955, when Len Dwyer became Director of Meteorology, international airlines including Qantas were operating pressurised piston-engined passenger airliners through Australian international airports. Some turbo-prop Britannias were seen and the Boeing 707 jet airliners had been test flown in May 1954. Qantas announced the order of seven Boeing 707 jet airliners in September 1956, and in the meantime continued to operate the Super Constellations, beginning the first round-the-world service in 1958.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Maher, John Vincent (Jack); 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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