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Media Release
Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage


20 February 2001

Colbinabbin's weather volunteer recognised in new calendar


Colbinabbin identity, Mrs June Hill, has been featured in a Bureau of Meteorology special 2001 Calendar in recognition of her families' 100-year contribution to the collection of weather data. To commemorate the International Year of the Volunteer, the Bureau is featuring its longest serving volunteers each month.

Dr Sharman Stone, Federal Member for Murray and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, said that Mrs Hill was the Bureau's February featured volunteer. The photograph shows Mrs Hill being presented with a commemorative gift at a ceremony at Colbinabbin last year.

"Mrs Hill's grandfather started the family farm at Colbinabbin in 1858 and the family have been collecting data on the weather ever since. Mrs Hill's contribution forms part of a network of almost 9,000 rainfall, river height and storm spotting volunteers across Australia", Sharman Stone said.

"While in 2001 automated weather stations have replaced many of the tasks previously undertaken by volunteers, there are circumstances where the human eye, judgement and communications skills cannot be replaced. Our marvellous weather data collectors are carrying on a service that is giving us a climate record that is very important in predicting the future".

"Volunteers featured in the 2001 calendar include several other families that have been collecting data for generations. The Legge family from northeastern Tasmania, the Garnock clan from Bombala on the NSW South Coast and the Packham's from the Western Australian wheatbelt all have connections with weather observations stretching back to the 1800's".

Sharman Stone said that weather observations in Australia had come a long way since William Dawes set up a small wooden observatory on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour soon after the landing of the first fleet. By the late 1880's most States had established a number of official weather stations and an extensive network of volunteer weather observers.

"Weather in the oldest, driest continent on earth was as important to the early European settlers as it was to Indigenous Australians over thousands of years and as it is to the Australian community today. The contribution made by volunteers for weather, climate and water over 200 years is an example of the Australian character".

The 2001 Australian Weather Calendar is available through Bureau of Meteorology offices in each State and Territory or via the website, www.bom.gov.au/announcements/calendar/.

For further information please contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468 or 02 6277 2016
February 20th, 2001

Commonwealth of Australia