Bureau pulls plug on state’s wettest spot

Former Weeaproinah farmer Frank Minchinton, centre, and his farm managers Ian and Jenny McDougall.

THE Bureau of Meteorology has stopped recording the weather from the wettest farming area in Victoria, ending six decades of history.

No-one is willing to record the rain and temperature at a Weeaproinah property, south of Colac, after an ownership change.

Former owner Frank Minchinton had recorded rain there since 1950, and his farm managers Ian and Jenny McDougall helped him once the bureau asked for rain and temperature observations in 1982.

Mr and Mrs McDougall took on the observations full time after a bull trampled Mr Minchinton in 2010, leaving him unable to work on the farm.

“When Frank had his accident we knew all things had to come to an end, but it came to an end a bit premature,” Mr McDougall said.

“There was a twinge of sadness when I pulled the rain gauge out of the ground on behalf of the weather bureau.”

Mrs McDougall took the last observation at the station on January 31.

Mr Minchinton said he was sad the observations wouldn’t continue after he’d recorded the weather in the district since he was a teenager.

“Oh I am a bit, when I realise that other people are not interested,” he said.

“You’ve got to be dedicated to it.”

Bureau of Meteorology acting regional observations manager Justin Wood said it was upsetting to see the station close.

“Frank had been recording rainfall there from day dot,” he said.

“There’s been accurate records because of him for at least 60 years.”

Mr Wood said the bureau would continue to try to recruit someone to take on the observations in the area.

“We did go through a couple of people in the hope of finding someone to do the observations,” he said.

“We ended up almost moving the station to another person’s farm.

“We haven’t given up on Weeaproinah by a long shot.”

The bureau wants a new weather station close to the original spot.

“Somewhere between Lavers Hill and Beech Forest,” Mr Wood said.

Mr McDougall said he would “very dearly love” someone to take on the weather station.

“I would love to have seen it stay in the spot where it is because it’s got a lot of significant history there,” he said.

“So would the weather bureau, simply because of the spot it’s in and the records go back so far, prior to even when the bureau got interested in it.”

“Getting people to do it seven days a week is the problem,” Mr Minchinton said.

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