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Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory


Image 31: Extract from Darwin's earliest meteorological register, 1869.

Image 31: Extract from Darwin's earliest meteorological register, 1869.
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The South Australian Government established a meteorological observatory in Darwin in 1869 and a second meteorological station in Alice Springs in 1887. Early observations included rainfall, wind speeds and the number of sunshine days each month. Field books completed for both Darwin and Alice Springs contain entries for one calendar month with two pages per day. Readings were taken every three hours from midnight each day. Details recorded were barometer and thermometer readings, wind, lower clouds and extent of cloud. Also recorded were maximum and minimum temperatures.

In 1967 the Darwin Office of the Bureau of Meteorology was established as a Regional Meteorological Centre, which was redesignated as a Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in July 1988. The Darwin Centre is part of a world-wide network and focuses on tropical analysis, prognosis and diagnostics. The Centre also specialises in climate information, tropical cyclone advisory services for north Australian and volcanic ash advisory services for the region.1

Selected records relating to meteorological readings in the Northern Territory
National Archives, Sydney
Rainfall and river height observations, 1869–ongoing E1680
National Archives, Darwin
Rainfall record book – Northern Territory and South Australia, 1857–1920 NTAC1976/110
Meteorological register for Fort Point, Palmerston (Adams Bay), and Powells Creek, 1869–1907 NTAC1976/106
Rainfall records – Northern Territory recording stations, 1869–1976 NTAC1980/351
Field books – Port Darwin, 1884–1907 NTAC1976/108
Field books – Alice Springs, 1887–1907 E1682
Meteorological observations – Darwin Department of Health, 1914–18 E1367
Meteorological observations – Government House, 1915–18 E1366
Meteorological journal – Darwin, 1935–42 NTAC1976/107
Wind record books – Darwin, 1935–42 NTAC1976/111
Book of daily meteorological observations – Darwin, 1938–42 E767
Correspondence files, 1959–69 E188
Correspondence files, 1959–75 E189
International surface synoptic weather charts, 1964–ongoing E245
Sea surface temperature analysis charts, 1973–ongoing E1341
Rainfall and river height observations, 1982–ongoing E1350
International isobaric analysis charts, circa 1989–ongoing E1340


Chapter notes | All notes

1 Bureau of Meteorology website: (accessed 8 January 2011).


Chapter 14