Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment
Volunteers recognised for 50 years of rainfall records
16 May 2014
The outstanding contribution of two volunteers at the Bureau of Meteorology has been recognised with Rainfall Excellence Awards presented in South Australia today.
“The commitment to the community shown by the Bureau of Meteorology’s volunteers makes a world of difference,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.
Mr Ian Ross, of Glen Gillian and Mrs Anne Gilfillan of Hazelton were presented with Rainfall Excellence Awards at the Bureau’s South Australian Regional Office, after completing 50 years of rainfall observations.
“Australia is a vast continent and while the Bureau’s network is extensive, there are many areas that are not covered except by the dedicated service of volunteers such as Mrs Gilfillan and Mr Ross,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Mrs Gilfillan started as a volunteer rainfall observer in January 1963 and speaks of it as a labour of love as she has always enjoyed both rainfall and statistics,” he said.
“For Mr Ross, who started in June 1963, it is the standout events such as recording 86.4mm on 9 February 1969 that have kept him involved all these years.
“These awards are presented during National Volunteers Week, a timely reminder to acknowledge all volunteers, including emergency services and many other organisations and individuals who selflessly provide their time and skills in the service of the community.
“More than six million Australians participate in voluntary work, and about 500,000 are formally involved in a range of emergency services, including firefighting, flood and storm response, road rescue, search and rescue, and patrolling beaches.
“The Bureau relies on a network of thousands of volunteers, including rainfall and river height observers, storm spotters and volunteers at sea,” said Senator Simon Birmingham.
The Bureau’s volunteer network is made up of more than 5000 rainfall observers, 2000 storm spotters, 300 river height observers and 80 ships at sea. Every day thousands of volunteers collect data from around 5900 rainfall observer stations and over 1000 river height gauges.