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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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Tropical Cyclones (continued)

The scale of cyclone destructiveness is well recorded from the time of the loss of pearling fleets and their crews in Bathurst Bay in March 1899 and in Broome in November 1910. More recent occurrences like the destruction of Darwin on the early hours of Christmas Day in 1974 are soon forgotten except by those experiencing the unbelievable destruction of these cyclones or those whose relatives have perished. Because the human brain tends to discard memory of tragic circumstances (probably an inherited survival mechanism), politicians, Government officials and the general population tend to overlook the likelihood of natural disasters. The Bureau experienced considerable difficulty in securing the resources to improve its warning services except for a period of some months following the occurrence of natural disasters.

Bob Lourensz's summary records that the Warren years saw about seven destructive tropical cyclones cross the north-west coast of WA while one visited Cairns; that seven severe cyclones crossed the NW coast and one visited Brisbane during the Timcke years; and that during the Dwyer years seven crossed the north-west coast and the same number crossed the Queensland coast. I should emphasise that there were other tropical cyclones recorded by Bob in these periods but I have used the rough criterion of a central pressure below 990 mb as indicating a destructive cyclone.

We have seen that the occurrence of tropical cyclones along the Queensland coast excited more political and general public interest than those in the north-west although Bob Lourensz's survey showed that the latter area is significantly more prone to visits from tropical cyclones. The higher frequency of cyclone occurrences on the Queensland coast in the years 1955 to 1962 resulted in considerable pressure from Queensland voters for the Commonwealth Government to improve cyclone warnings. The Bureau's performance in providing warnings of tropical cyclones had been commendable, although the absence of tropical cyclone reconnaissance aircraft (such as those employed out of Miami in the US) made the task of detection and tracking more difficult.

George Mackey and 'Doc' Hogan in Perth had developed the best possible warning service and young Bob Southern had become acquainted with the task of cyclone warning while serving in the Perth Divisional Office from 1949 to 1959.

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Leonard Joseph; Hogan, John (Doc); Mackey, George William; 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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