Friday February 5, 2010

Hot or not?

Sleeping Gray Kangaroo

Sleeping Gray Kangaroo by zuctronic, on Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

January’s fierce heat roused Carole of the Genealogy in NSW blog to write a great post on weather – and not to forget it when writing up your family history!

We talk about global warming and so we may assume that the weather was different in our ancestors’ day than it is now, but look at any newspaper of the period and you can see that generally it was much the same. Perhaps it rained more but that goes in cycles. They had drought, fires, floods, too much rain, not enough rain, and days that were just too hot to bear.

Just like us.

Some resources you could access for weather in Mosman over time include:

  • The Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate Data Online – the most local north-side Bureau stations (Mosman Council and Manly Dam) have discontinuous data available, but the Observatory Hill station offers records for every year back to 1858
  • Search Historic Australian Newspapers, 1803 to 1954 – on Thursday 24 January 1935, the Sydney Morning Herald reported HEAT WAVE. PEOPLE COLLAPSE. and there were bush fires in Mosman
  • Browse the local newspaper The Mosman Daily – the microfilm archive at Mosman Library goes back to 1920
  • Check Council meeting minutes – there are many mentions of weather affecting things like guttering and street trees; Council business papers are also available at Mosman Library, on microfilm and CD-ROM
  • Anecdotal mentions can be found in local histories – Ted Pethebridge remembers they used to have to shovel the sand off the tramlines at Balmoral after heavy winds and rough seas
  • Check Mosman Council’s State of the Environment reports – on Council’s website, reports back to 2003/2004 are available

Carole’s blog is “about genealogy in New South Wales and beyond with tips and techniques to help you understand your ancestors better.” Visit

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