By Leyland Wilkinson
I recently came across a guide to ‘Weather Signals at Sydney’ which was produced by the NSW Section of the Ex-Naval Men’s Association and could be purchased for 3d (3 pence or 2.5 cents). At one time copies of these signals were attached to noticeboards on most buildings at Garden Island Dockyard. The Sydney Morning Heraldof Wednesday 7 October 1931 refers to changes to forecasting of weather signals at Garden Island as follows:
From today weather and storm warning signals will be exhibited on the flagstaff at Garden Island naval establishment, in addition to being displayed at the Weather Bureau (Flagstaff Hill). Flags will be flown by day and lights will be shown at night.
The system has been inaugurated by special arrangement between the meteorological branch of the Department of Home Affairs and the naval authorities. It is considered that the prominent position of the flagstaff will make the signals of great value to shipping and yachtsmen. The warnings will also be readily visible to residents of harbour suburbs and to passengers by ferry steamers. They will embrace all the combinations of flags now in use at the Weather Bureau, with the addition of the cone-shaped signal well known to shipping as the warning of the approach of a gale. Night signals will be used to give warning of the approach of any severe storm, and will take the form of a triangle of three red lights. The practice of displaying a red light in the tower of the General Post Office to indicate the approach of a southerly ‘buster,’ and that of broadcasting special wind and storm warnings, will be continued.
Under the Weather Bureau system a plain white flag indicates fair weather; a blue flag rain, white above blue (one flag) local rain, black square on white field, cool change; red square on white field, heat wave; white and white flag below blue, rain to follow; white and blue flag above white flag, improving weather; black pennant above white flag, fair weather, warmer; black pennant below white flag, fair, colder; black pennant above blue flag, rain warmer; black pennant below blue flag, rain colder; black pennant above white and blue flag, local rain, warmer; black pennant below white and blue flag, local rain, colder.
Wind warnings are: White pennant above red flag with black square in centre, north-westerly winds; white pennant below red flag with black square in centre, south-westerly winds; red pennant above red flag with black square in centre, north-easterly winds; red pennant below red flag with black square in centre, south-easterly winds; two red flags with black squares in centres, very severe gales.
Anyone confused – please see back cover of this magazine for coloured plan.