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our VOlunteers are helping to create Australia’s longest daily weather recordS

To understand extreme conditions in Australia – such as drought, bushfires, heatwaves and floods – we need to look back at these events in the past. But there are a few missing pieces of the puzzle in Australia’s early weather records.

This is where you come in.

Anyone can become a citizen scientist.

These recently recovered weather observations from colonial Adelaide include reference to a ‘holiday’ taken for the departure of Sturt’s expedition into the centre of Australia on 10 August 1844. During this journey, Sturt was stranded for some time by extreme heat. Credit: National Archives of Australia

Join our research team as a volunteer for one of our weather rescue projects. You don’t need any research experience and you can help us online from the comfort of your home. And, you can spend as little or as much time helping as you want.

Our project needs volunteers to help close the gaps in Australia’s daily weather from the earliest colonial years.

The project involves transcribing gorgeous handwritten journals (for example, pictured right). Your help in decoding these observations will link together our country’s historical climate with modern records.

From 8 September to 24 November, 2020, we ran our pilot citizen science project on Zooniverse. Read more about how volunteers helped to create the longest daily weather record for Adelaide here.

We’ll be launching another, much larger, citizen science project in early-2021 looking at journals from Perth for the period 1880-1900. Click here to sign up to our e-newsletter, so you’ll be notified when we launch this new project.


WANT TO GET EVEN MORE involved?

As a volunteer, you can explore fascinating historical records and collections including:

A wood engraving from January 24 1889 in Melbourne, titled “A hot day in town”. Credit: State Library of Victoria
  • handwritten weather records;
  • early newspapers;
  • photographs;
  • artworks;
  • correspondence and accounts from early settlers; and
  • other accounts of colonial scholars.

You’ll be searching these historical records to uncover valuable information about Australia’s turbulent climate history. Volunteers are digging up detailed accounts of floods, drought, locust plagues, bushfires, heatwaves, snow falling in Sydney, and there’s so much more just waiting to be discovered.

You can chose to work on high priority tasks or we can help you find a task that suits your personal interests.

Already a National Library of Australia volunteer Text Corrector? Find out how you can contribute.