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Joint Media Release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
Mr Barry Haase
Federal Member for Kalgoorlie

2 August 2006

Legendary Giles weather station celebrates 50 years

The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology announced today that Western Australia's Giles weather station, famed among Bureau staff for its extreme isolation, and popular with thousands of Central Australia 4WD tourists, is celebrating its 50th birthday.

"Established in 1956 by the Weapons Research Establishment, initially to provide data for the British atomic weapon tests and later the rocket trials from Woomera, Giles has been a Bureau responsibility since 1972, administered from the South Australian Regional Office in Adelaide," said Mr Hunt.

"Meteorological observations have continued since then thanks to close cooperation between the Bureau and the Ngaanyatjarra people of the Central Lands.

"Four weather observers coordinate the release of weather balloons, monitor temperature, rainfall, humidity, pressure, evaporation, sunshine and other elements.

'Keeping these systems running 24 hours a day, each day of the year is testimony to the staff's dedication,' Mr Hunt said.

Mr Barry Haase MP, Federal Member for Kalgoorlie said the long-term data from such a remote site, little affected by outside influences, is valuable baseline information in helping to improve our understanding of the atmosphere, including studies of climate change.

"Continuing the record of unbroken observations is just as important as safeguarding the past 50 years of observations," said Mr Haase, who will today unveil a plaque at Giles to commemorate the 50th birthday of the Giles Meteorological Office.

Giles is located on the Gunbarrel Highway, 330km west of Uluru, making it a popular stopover for between 2000-3000 tourists a year.

Weather observers spend six months at a time at the Giles site, which ranks in Bureau folklore with tiny Willis Island in the Coral Sea as one of the most isolated weather observation points in Australia.

Media contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's office) 0412 360 987
Sam Dalton (Mr Haase's office) 08 9021 2035 or 0407 379 622

Commonwealth of Australia