A century of rainfall recording recognised

A century of rainfall recording recognised


AUSTEN Eatts says the recording of rainfall has simply been a part of everyday life that he continues to enjoy being part of.


AUSTEN Eatts says the recording of rainfall has simply been a part of everyday life that he continues to enjoy being part of.

For the Eatts family, it has been that way for more than 100 years at Kelly, just outside of Kimba.

The family first started measuring rainfall tallies for the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in July 1918 and in recognition of a century of volunteer rainfall recording, Austen and wife Thelma Eatts were presented with a certificate of recognition in Kimba late last month.

"We appreciate what they gave us, it was a nice certificate of appreciation," Mr Eatts said.

"It was also nice to have family and friends present."

The duo, both 91, are two of more than 6000 volunteer rainfall recorders across the country and the tallies they collate are used not only for up-to-date rainfall information, but also gives BOM an insight into weather patterns.

For the Eatts family it all started in 1917 when Edward and Madge Eatts moved to the Kimba district and from their cottage they ran the local post office.

A year later they were asked to become official rainfall recorders for the district and remained so until moving to Adelaide in 1936.

Mr Eatts' mother Jessie took over the role until 1953, when it was passed on to Mr Eatts and his brother Lindsay, who also did recording with his wife.

It became the sole responsibility of Mr Eatts and Thelma in 2007, and has remained so to this day.

Since the family has been recording rainfall at Curtinye, the average rainfall has been about 300 millimetres, although the highest rainfall tally recorded was 617.4mm in 1992, with the lowest reading occurring only two years later with just over 100mm falling.

The highest daily total was 96mm on February 18, 1946, which was part of a three-day total of 153.74mm.

Mr Eatts said they measured and recorded the rainfall total daily as close to 9am as possible, then sent the tally to Adelaide on a monthly basis.

"Everybody on a farming property has a rain gauge and most people record rainfall for personal use," he said.

"When it rains here we record it on the chart they give to us and every month we post the recordings to the bureau.

"It's one of these things we grew up with and something we still enjoy doing."

BOM inspector Roelof Hoebee thanked the family for their dedication.

"Curtinye rainfall reports have been consistently of a high standard throughout the record and are a testament to the fortitude and persistence of the Eatts family," he said.

"This amazing record of rainfall at Curtinye is an invaluable record of the good times and the hard years at the property and helps the bureau better understand the way in which rainfall has varied over time."

Mr Eatts said he and his wife were happy to help BOM and hoped the family tradition would continue into the next generation.

"We will keep doing it for as long as we can and then our son will probably take over," he said.

"We get pleasure out of it and are happy to be part of the system. There's lots of history there, and valuable information for the bureau."

BOM SA media and communications manager Paul Lainio said the recognition was well deserved.

"Mr Austen Eatts continues to add to the family's rain observation record and his personal contribution of reading the rain gauge," he said.

"[It is] a truly remarkable effort from the Eatts family and a remarkable contribution to the understanding of rainfall across the nation."

This story A century of rainfall recording recognised first appeared on Eyre Peninsula Tribune.

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