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Joint Media Release
The Hon. Dr Sharman Stone MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
Senator John Watson
Senator for Tasmania

16 July 2004

Weather volunteers awarded for 100 years of service

The McShane family of Melton Mowbray was today recognised for a century of dedicated service in recording rainfall for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator John Watson presented the excellence award to Mr Gerard and Mrs Elizabeth McShane of "Lovely Banks" at Melton Mowbray, Tasmania on behalf of Dr Sharman Stone, the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Bureau.

Senator Watson said that Elizabeth's grandfather, Mr E O Bisdee, started taking official rainfall readings in 1901. Mr Bisdee's son, Alan took over the job when his father died in 1926 and continued the readings for more than 50 years. The McShanes took over the task in 1982 and have continued it to this day.

Dr Stone said the Bisdee and McShane families formed part of the bureau's network of almost 9000 rainfall, river height and storm spotting volunteers across Australia.

"The contribution made by volunteers, over 200 years, is an example of the Australian character: in particular it is testament to the Bisdee and McShane families' dedication to Tasmania that they have continued a family tradition spanning 100 years," Dr Stone said.

Senator Watson said that the work of the bureau and its many contributors was vital to many people in Tasmania where knowledge of rainfall, weather forecasting and flood warnings affected so many businesses and people's everyday lives.

He congratulated the McShanes on their many years of dedicated duty.

Commonwealth of Australia