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Biographical entry Gibbs, William James (Bill) (1916 - 2005)

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    Bill Gibbs, courtesy of Bureau of Meteorology.
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Born
17 October 1916
Bondi, New South Wales, Australia
Died
17 March 2005
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Occupation
Meteorologist and Science administrator

Summary

Bill Gibbs was Director of the Bureau of Meteorology from 1962 to1978 and first Vice-President of the World Meteorological Organization from 1967 to 1975.

Details

Born 17 October 1916. OBE 1968. Educated Fort Street High School; MSc, University of Sydney; MSc, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1952; Hon. DSc, University of Melbourne 1968. Joined the Bureau of Meteorology Sydney Divisional Office on 6 November 1939 and transferred to Melbourne headquarters in March 1940. Meteorologist, RAAF, 1941-1946, in Port Moresby and later in Allied Headquarters, Brisbane. Conceived and founded the Tropical Weather Research Bulletin, which became the Weather Development and Research Bulletin, later known as the Australian Meteorological Magazine. Supervising Meteorologist (Research), Bureau of Meteorology, appointed 1948. Harkness Fellowship, Commonwealth Fund of New York, 1951-1952. Assistant Director Research, 1958-1962, and Director, 1962-1978 (retired) Bureau of Meteorology. International Meteorological Organization Medal 1982. W J Gibbs Prize named after him and established in 1996. After his retirement Bill, as Bureau archivist, initiated the Metarch (meteorological archives) Project and personally compiled Metarch Papers No 1 containing details of historical references in Weather News Nos 1-262 (1956-82). He was also Executive Editor of Metarch Papers from 1986 to 1999, persuading many to write reminiscences, and was author of Metarch Papers 7, 12 and 13.

Bill was no ordinary meteorologist and certainly no ordinary public servant. When it was in the interests of the Bureau and the Australian community that he work closely with other individuals and organisations, he did so with boundless energy, enthusiasm and goodwill. When it was necessary to fight uncompromisingly on issues of principle and in defence of the long-term good of the Bureau and the betterment of Australian meteorology, he did so with a strength of will and resilience that few could match. John Zillman, Metarch Papers 13, 1999

Events

1939 - 1940
Career position - Meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology Sydney Divisional Office (five months)
1940
Career position - Meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology at their Melbourne headquarters
1941 - 1946
Career position - Meteorologist with the Royal Australian Air Force in Port Moresby and later in Allied Headquarters, Brisbane
1948 - c. 1958
Career position - Supervising Meteorologist (Research) at the Bureau of Meteorology
c. 1949
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed at the University of Sydney
1951 - 1952
Award - Harkness Fellowship, Commonwealth Fund of New York received
1952
Education - Master of Science (MSc) completed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
1958 - 1962
Career position - Assistant Director (Research) of the Bureau of Meteorology
1962 - 1978
Career position - Director (Research) of the Bureau of Meteorology
1967 - 1975
Career position - Vice-President of the World Meteorological Organization
1968
Education - Doctor of Science honoris causa (Hon DSc) received from the University of Melbourne
1968
Award - Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
1978
Career position - Retired
1982
Award - International Meteorological Organization Medal received
1996
Award - W J Gibbs Prize established in his honour

Archival resources

Bureau of Meteorology, National Meterorological Library

  • The W.J. Gibbs collection, VCMB MS 23; Bureau of Meteorology, National Meterorological Library. Details

Published resources

Books

  • Day, David, Weather watchers: 100 years of the Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Vic., 2007, 530 pp. Details
  • Gibbs, W. J., A Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service, Metarch Papers No. 7, Bureau of Meteorology, 1995. Details
  • Gibbs, W. J., A mini-history of meteorology in Australia, Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, Melbourne, 1996. Details
  • Gibbs, W. J., The Origins of Australian Meteorology , Metarch Papers No. 12, Bureau of Meteorology, 1998. Details
  • Gibbs, W. J., A Very Special Family: Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1946 to 1962, Metarch Papers No. 13, Bureau of Meteorology, 1999. Details

Book Sections

  • Gibbs, W. J., 'A mini-history of meteorology in Australia', in Webb, Eric K. (ed.), Windows on Meteorology: Australian Perspective, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 1997, pp. 81-104. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'Dr (W.J.) Bill Gibbs, Director, Bureau of Meteorology, 1962-1978', Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, vol. 11, no. 4, 1998, pp. 78-82. Details
  • Gibbs, W. J., 'Meteorology at Heard and Macquarie Islands', The Meteorological magazine, vol. 79, 1950, pp. 168-70. Details
  • Gibbs, W. J., 'A Perspective of Australian Meteorology - 1939-1978', Australian Meteorological Magazine, vol. 30, 1982, pp. 3-17. Details
  • Gibbs, W. J., 'Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology', World Meteorological Organization Bulletin, vol. 32, 1983, pp. 309-313. Details
  • Gibbs, William James, 'R D Queensland Retires', Weather News, vol. 240, November 1977, 1977, p. 3. Details
  • Morgan, Helen, 'Bill Gibbs and the Origins of Australian Meteorology', Australasian Science, vol. 22, no. 6, 2001, p. 46. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • Zillman, John, 'Towering figure in world weather watch', The Age, Dr W. J. (Bill) Gibbs obituary, 19 April 1005, p. 12. Details

Online Resources

See also

Digital resources

Title
Bill Gibbs
Type
Image
Source
Bureau of Meteorology

Details

Title
Bill Gibbs shaking hands with John Hogan.
Type
Image

Details

Helen Morgan