45-09 Adelaide's official weather observation station

Park 24 has an historical connection with weather observation going back to 1838 – less than two years after Adelaide was founded. But this compound is much more recent, being set up only in 2017. The story about why these instruments are located here is a story with a number of twists and turns.

The first records of rainfall in Adelaide were taken in this Park in 1838, by George Kingston who was the Deputy Surveyor to Colonel William Light.

Later, South Australia’s first meteorologist, Charles Todd took over observations in this Park from 1855. That was five years before he had an Observatory built in this Park. When the Commonwealth Government was formed after federation in 1901, the Commonwealth Government’s new Weather Bureau didn’t have its own building, so it shared space inside the State-run Observatory, on West Terrace.

The first purpose-built Weather Bureau came later, in 1940, right next to the State-run Observatory, on a relatively small site, on the corner of West Terrace and Glover Avenue.

The Weather Bureau on the corner site lasted less than 40 years. 1940 to 1979. The Bureau was moved to Kent Town in 1977. However the site in Kent Town also lasted only about 40 years.

They found that Kent Town was not an ideal location for recording weather data. Urbanisation and obstruction by adjoining buildings made measurements at Kent Town less than optimal.

So, in 2017, the Weather Bureau moved its offices into the City, in King William Street, but set up this recording station here, to feed data into its offices. You could say that in 2017, Adelaide’s official weather recording station returned home - almost to the same place where recordings began in 1838.

The equipment installed behind the fence at this site provides observations of air temperature, wind speed and direction, air pressure, rainfall, and relative humidity. These observations are available on the Bureau's website at ten-minute intervals. The data meets international observing standards.

Before the Kent Town station was shut down the two observation stations operated in tandem for some time. This was done so the Bureau could compare the data and identify differences in the observations for Park 24 versus Kent Town.

The return of a weather station to the Adelaide Park Lands, since 2017 now allows for comparison of records with a time well before urbanisation, and carbon pollution of the atmosphere.

This site with its long history therefore is of global interest.

From this point walk north about 50 metres and stand on the lower or western oval, just before you get to the centre of the oval.



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