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Upcoming event – 100 years of Canberra’s weather

By Bom records guru - 10 August 2013 0

On Saturday 31st August, the Bureau of Meteorology will be running a public event on “Canberra and the Bureau – together for 100 years” at the Shine Dome of the Australian Academy of Science. This will include presentations on:

  • Canberra’s weather and climate – what makes it tick?
  • A century of weather and climate – the big weather events and climate trends for the Canberra region (including trying to settle the question of whether it snowed on Christmas Day 1968 once and for all)
  • Canberra and the Bureau – together for 100 years (including the influence that climate had on why Canberra was chosen as Australia’s capital).

At the moment, the Bureau is looking for images and footage of notable weather events in Canberra’s history – we have been able to obtain some from sources such as newspapers, the National Library’s Trove archive, and the National Archives of Australia, but know there must be much more out there. Obviously there will be more material for the more recent events, but we’re hoping there might be something still available for some of the older events (especially if the ‘Box Brownie’ photographer was around then).

Events we’re interested in include:

  • Significant snowfalls in metropolitan Canberra. The May 2000 event (the one with the Raiders game in the snow) is well-known; other significant ones of the last 40 years include those of October 1987 and July 1982. Going back further, we would be especially interested in any images which still exist of the August 1965 or July 1949 snowfalls (we already know about the sign in Civic Square showing the 1965 event). The 1949 snowfall was the largest recorded in Canberra with amounts of 10 to 25 centimetres, depending on which source you believe.
  • Significant floods in Canberra and the region. The most significant of these was the January 1971 Woden Valley flash flood; more recently, the various floods in Queanbeyan and downstream in 2010-11, and the floods at the end of February 2012 are also of interest (we know about the footage of the overtopping of the Cotter Dam construction site). For older events, we are particularly interested in any Molonglo River floods before the construction of Lake Burley Griffin; possibilities include October 1959 and May 1925.
  • Major thunderstorms, such as the hailstorm of 27 February 2007 or the severe winds/microburst of 2 December 2005.
  • The 22 September 2009 dust storm.

If you have such material and are happy for it to be used (with acknowledgement) in presentations on the day, or know where it can be found, you can post a link in comments or e-mail centenary(at)bom.gov.au.

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