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Media release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

9 May 2006

Renowned Australian meteorologist awarded prestigious international prize

One of Australia's most eminent meteorologists, Dr John Zillman, will receive the 50th International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize for his exceptional individual contribution to the field of meteorology, at a ceremony in Adelaide tonight.

As former Director of both the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, Dr Zillman has held, and continues to hold, many roles and appointments in the world of science.

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, congratulated Dr Zillman for winning the prize and for his outstanding contribution to international meteorology over many years.

“Dr Zillman is very deserving of this award,” Mr Hunt said.  “The IMO prize only partly reflects the tireless individual contributions he has made, and continues to make in his retirement, to the advancement of meteorology in the world of international science and public policy.  He is respected for his outstanding international leadership on a wide range of meteorological and climatological issues.

“The high level of international cooperation between meteorological agencies today is due in no small part to the industrious work of Dr Zillman.  I am delighted to see him receive the IMO Prize in recognition of this outstanding contribution, and on behalf of the Australian Government, I congratulate him.”

Dr Zillman’s career began when he joined the Bureau as a cadet meteorologist in Brisbane in 1957.  In 1978, he was appointed Director of Meteorology, retiring in 2003.  He was a member of the WMO Executive Council from 1979 to 2004, and was President for two terms from 1995 to 2003.  He has published more than 120 scientific papers, articles and books.  This includes a number of major publications on climate and climate change in the southern hemisphere.

Dr Zillman is an Officer of the Order of Australia, and even now in his retirement, is still being recognised for his distinguished service on a wide range of national and international science policy panels and advisory bodies.  Amongst his many appointments he is Chair of the Steering Committee for the Global Climate Observing System, the current president of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and of the National Academies Forum and Immediate Past President of the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences.  He also holds an honorary DSc from Monash University and became a Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and Professorial Fellow in the School of Earth Sciences of Melbourne University in 1999.

Dr Zillman will be the third Australian to receive the prize, which was first awarded in 1956.

The presentation of the 50th IMO prize will take place on Tuesday 9 May at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Adelaide.  The ceremony is a part of the WMO 14th Session of Regional Association V (Pacific region) meeting, also being attended by the WMO Secretary-General, Mr Michel Jarraud and President, Dr Alexander Bedritsky.

Dr John Zillman will be available for media interviews between 5:45 and 6:30pm and will accept the IMO Prize at 9pm.

Media contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Office of Mr Hunt) 0415 740 722

Further information about the IMO Prize can be found at:

Commonwealth of Australia