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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

Akeroyd the Great

No. 237 Oct/Nov 1976, Item 2971

By Bob Southern

Arthur Gordon Akeroyd (1890–1948) was the second of a triumvirate of long-serving meteorologists to preside at the Perth Weather Bureau since 1908, the year in which the Commonwealth took over responsibilities for meteorological services from the State. He occupied the position, then known as Divisional Meteorologist, from the retirement of his predecessor E. B. Curlewis in 1937, until his unexpected death in William Street, Perth, at the age of 57, on 25 March 1948. Mr G. W. Mackey then succeeded to the position and continued until his retirement in 1971.

Akeroyd's service spanned a period in which weather forecasting had begun to change from an intuitive art centred around local observational trends at the earth's surface to a predictive science based on a full exploitation of the three-dimensional characteristics of the atmosphere around the whole globe. This transformation was accelerated by the expansion of international air routes and new technologies accompanying the wartime needs for meteorological services.


Akeroyd's great attachment to nature in its simplest and grandest forms, the weather elements, is expressed in a reflection by his daughter Mrs C. A. Nettle, of Canberra. "One of my favourite memories is his coming out late at night to peer up at the moving clouds, sense the wind, absorb the changing environment with the totality of his senses, and then go to the phone, ring up the Newspaper, find out what the official forecast was, and then sometimes alter it. It must have been frustrating to his officers, but it reflected his commitment to his role and his acceptance of final responsibility for all the division's activities".

Akeroyd's two most notable accomplishments in Perth were his provision during World War II of flight forecasts for long-range aircraft, mainly Catalina flying bouts flying non-stop from Perth to Ceylon; and his successful introduction of precise daily maximum temperature forecast.

In respect to the former, Akeroyd, who wore rather uneasily the honorary wartime rank of an R.A.A.F. Wing Commander, had the good sense to delegate the demanding duties involved to one of the evolving breed of young scientists, John "Doc" Hogan, later Regional Director for South Australia. Of the second accomplishment "Wadaja", Bulletin of the W.A. District Australian Journalists' Association, had this to say in on editorial in its January 1945 issue, commenting on the forecast for the hottest January day for 11 years, labelled "Thanks, Mr. Akeroyd".

People in Bright Sparcs - Akeroyd, Arthur Gordon; Curlewis, Harold Burnham; Hogan, John (Doc); Mackey, George William

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