SEARCH volunteers unearth vital climate data

Published on 23 September 2010 by in News


An end to the drought. Excerpt from the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Thursday 13 June 1839 (Click to enlarge)

A team of volunteers at the State Library of New South Wales has been hard at work sourcing valuable information about climate conditions in the early years of the colony at Sydney.

The volunteers have been examining editions of Australia’s first newspaper, The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, looking for information about weather conditions in the colony during 1838 and 1839, which have been identified as drought years.

The volunteers have unearthed many meteorological tables from each month of the target years, as well as stories about how the weather affected the colony.

This very useful material will allow the project team to reconstruct the weather conditions during the period.

The team has been conducting their research using the National Library of Australia’s Trove Australian Newspapers database. Trove is an important project to digitise Australia’s early newspapers from 1803 to the mid 1950s.

If you would like to be involved as a volunteer, please contact the SEARCH team on

5 Responses to “SEARCH volunteers unearth vital climate data”

  1. BREE says:

    Every day in the former Victorian newpaper, “The Argus”,
    there is a weather forecast and summary of the previous day’s titled.

  2. John McGlinn says:

    Due to interest in floods have taken notice of reference to climate condition & flooding in attempted research in Miller’s Forest area (near Raymond Terrace NSW). Information generally descriptive ,relating to properties that no longer exist, submitted by residents.
    I tagged an article in Maitland Mercury 12 September 1857 page 2 Article covering what appeared to be a major flood in this location.
    Will continue to Tag & will increase scope to also include weather etc

  3. Greta Harrison says:

    Thanks Bree and John for bringing both of those items to our attention. I’ll forward that to our research team. Thanks to all volunteers for continuing to unearth such useful material.

  4. Beatrice says:

    Part of an article about a large and severe I copied which possibly you may not have. – The Sydney Herald Saturday 30 April 1842 page 2. [The following is condensed from an article explaining the tracking of storms of coastal NSW and includes mention of damage done to property on Ash Island in the previous year.] On the 26th November, a thunder-storm passed over South Head between, one and two P.M., from the N. At Parramatta, the first thunder was heard from S.W. at noon. At 12-30 the storm began; at 1.15 it was all round the horizon, but going eastward, heavy rain falling from South: at 1.25 to 1.35, rain fell with wind from east, ending with a heavy squall from that quarter: at 1.40, there was a tremendous squall from N., veering N.W. blowing down maize and small trees; The storm was then tracked from Parramatta to Castle Hill, 1.30 and to Dural at 2 where “Hail fell there in abundance in great pieces of ice, which passed through the shingles of a hut; there also a tree was struck about 3 P.M., and shivered to pieces by lightning, at the same time that two ships were struck at Sydney”.

  5. Greta Harrison says:

    Thank you so much Beatrice.

    I will add that excerpt to our database.

    Much appreciated.