Home Bright Sparcs
Biographical entry

Home | Browse | Search | Previous | Next
Be a Bright Sparcs Supporter

Gibbs, William James (Bill) (1916 - 2005)

Go to Gallery Page Gibbs, William James (Bill)
Online SourcesArchival/Heritage SourcesPublished SourcesGallery
Meteorologist and Science administrator
Born: 17 October 1916  Bondi, New South Wales, Australia.  Died: 17 March 2005  Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
William James (Bill) Gibbs was Director of the Bureau of Meteorology from 1962 to1978 and first Vice-President of the World Meteorological Organization from 1967 to 1975. During his time at the Bureau, Gibbs conceived and founded the Tropical Weather Research Bulletin, which became the Weather Development and Research Bulletin, and later the Australian Meteorological Magazine.

Career Highlights
After completing a Master of Science (MSc) at the University of Sydney, William James (Bill) Gibbs went to America where he repeated his Masters degree. Upon his return to Australia he joined Sydney Divisional Office of the Bureau of Meteorology on 6 November 1939 but transferred to its Melbourne headquarters in March 1940. The following year Gibbs undertook war service as a Meteorologist with the Royal Australian Air Force in Port Moresby and later in Allied Headquarters, Brisbane.

Bill Gibbs returned to the Bureau and retired in 1978. After his retirement he became Bureau archivist and initiated the Metarch (meteorological archives) Project. He personally compiled Metarch Papers No 1 containing details of historical references in Weather News Nos 1-262 (1956-82). He was also Executive Editor of Metarch Papers from 1986 to 1999, persuading many to write reminiscences, and was author of Metarch Papers 7, 12 & 13.

Bill was no ordinary meteorologist and certainly no ordinary public servant. When it was in the interests of the Bureau and the Australian community that he work closely with other individuals and organisations, he did so with boundless energy, enthusiasm and goodwill. When it was necessary to fight uncompromisingly on issues of principle and in defence of the long-term good of the Bureau and the betterment of Australian meteorology, he did so with a strength of will and resilience that few could match. John Zillman, Metarch Papers 13, 1999.

1939 - 1940Meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology Sydney Divisional Office (five months)
1940Meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology at their Melbourne headquarters
1941 - 1946Meteorologist with the Royal Australian Air Force in Port Moresby and later in Allied Headquarters, Brisbane
1948 - c. 1958Supervising Meteorologist (Research) at the Bureau of Meteorology
c. 1949Master of Science (MSc) completed at the University of Sydney
1951 - 1952Harkness Fellowship, Commonwealth Fund of New York received
1952Master of Science (MSc) completed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
1958 - 1962Assistant Director (Research) of the Bureau of Meteorology
1962 - 1978Director (Research) of the Bureau of Meteorology
1967 - 1975Vice-President of the World Meteorological Organization
1968Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
1968Doctor of Science honoris causa (Hon DSc) received from the University of Melbourne
1982International Meteorological Organization Medal received
1996W J Gibbs Prize established in his honour

Online SourcesPublished Sources
See Also

Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields.Prepared by: Helen Morgan & Annette Alafaci
Created: 10 May 2001
Modified: 22 August 2006

Published by The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre on ASAPWeb, 1994 - 2007
Originally published 1994-1999 by Australian Science Archives Project, 1999-2006 by the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre
Disclaimer, Copyright and Privacy Policy
Submit any comments, questions, corrections and additions
Prepared by: Acknowledgements
Updated: 26 February 2007

[ Foundation Supporter - National Council for the Centenary of Federation ]
[ Top of page | Bright Sparcs Home | Browse | Search ]