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Federation and MeteorologyBureau of Meteorology
Table of Contents

Weather News


Fifty Years of Weather History
Weather Officers—25 Years Ago
The Perth RO Since 1929
Remember the Pioneers
Akeroyd the Great
Out with the Old—In with the New [Bill Gibbs / John Zillman]
Dr Bill Gibbs
Dr John Zillman
Meteorological History in the Territory
Edwin Thomas Quayle—Bureau Research Pioneer
Ninety Years Ago: Birth of the Bureau

Personal Notes



Observers and Volunteers




Contact us
No. 227 July 1975, Item 2788 (continued)

As Western Australia continued to grow there were increasing demands on the Bureau, particularly in relation to the mineral deposits and oil exploration in the North West and the growing problem of air pollution. The office at the Observatory became too small and in 1967 the Bureau moved to a building of its own at the corner of Hill and Wellington Streets in East Perth.

In the following year, an APT section was established in Perth to receive satellite pictures. By this time computer processing of statistical records was gradually replacing the older manual methods of record keeping and within a few years most of the statistical data required for use in the Perth Bureau was being supplied by computer print-outs from Melbourne.

In 1971 Mr Mackey retired and was succeeded by the present RD, Mr R. L. Southern. In the same year the aviation forecasting section was transferred from the airport at Guildford to the main office in Perth.

When the Bureau was transferred from the Department of the Interior to the new Department of Science in 1973, this involved the Perth office undertaking the administration of two other sections of the Department—the Australian Government Analyst Laboratories and the Patents and Trade Marks sub-office. Once again the office became too small and the administrative section was moved to the fifth floor of N.C.R. House in Adelaide Terrace.

Now the Bureau has nearly 200 staff in WA, fourteen field stations (eight of which are equipped with radar) and four automatic weather stations.

Quite a move forward from the seven staff of 1929, who are listed below:

Mr E. B. Curlewis, Divisional Meteorologist; Monty O'Dowd (son of the Australian poet Bernard O'Dowd), Deputy to Mr Curlewis; W. Stokle, Meteorological Assistant; 'Pumps' Hillard, Clerical Assistant; E. A. 'Gug' Wintle, Chief Clerk; Bill Lawson (who later became Collector of Customs), Junior Assistant; Margaret Wallace, Typiste and Recorder.

Monty O'Dowd was replaced by Les Nelson, while others who later joined the staff were Ralph Holmes, Gerry O'Mahony, Bobbie Birtwistle and Colin Ramm. The first officer-in-charge of the Maylands Aerodrome was Ray Wyatt. He was later joined by Ross Vollprecht. During the war Colin Hounam was sent from Melbourne to take charge of the Climatological Section.

People in Bright Sparcs - Curlewis, Harold Burnham; Holmes, Ralph Aubrey Edward; Mackey, George William; O'Mahony, Gerard (Gerry)

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© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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