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Weather and climate change


The ANU Archives holds numerous records of and relating to pastoral stations, most numerously in New South Wales, but also in Queensland, Victoria, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

Farmers and station managers routinely recorded weather conditions. These records usually do not conform to meteorological standards but may give insights to historical conditions in locations which may not have otherwise been covered by official meteorological records.

The list below is not exhaustive, and pastoral stations may have recorded rainfall and other weather conditions in journals or other types of records, and may not be indexed as such in archival description. 

Business records from Burns Philp (shipping line and merchant) and Colonial Sugar Refining Limited (CSR) also contain climate observations. Coverage is mostly the Pacific and northern Australia given the ambit of their activities. Weather observations are usually related to plantations and sugar production or may be related to shipping activities.

Alroy Downs Station (Northern Territory)

NBAC 4-2: Correspondence relating to taxation, stocks and shares, station improvements, leases, and cattle sales (includes rainfall records 1903-1928)

NBAC 4-5-2: Map of Queensland, Southern Sales Limited (1910). Shows railways, roads, shire boundaries, towns, rainfall, location of banks and money order offices

Australian Agricultural Company

NBAC 114-2-1 and NBAC 114-2-2: Station managers' letterbooks, including correspondence with General Superintendent in Newcastle, monthly station reports and rainfall figures (1911-1921)

NBAC 114-16: Rainfall returns and observations (1898-1954). Covers Warrah homestead, Brown's Ridge, Jack's Creek, Harrison's, Black Creek, Highlands and Windy

NBAC 160-311: Rainfall record book (1883-1947). Includes Warrah, Corona, Bladensburg, Headingly and Highfields stations

NBAC 1-278-1 and NBAC 1-278-2: Warrah rainfall returns and rain registers (1877-1953)

NBAC 1-362: Warrah general information book relating to stock, including rainfall register (1898-1919)

NBAC 1-380: Warrah statistics on rainfall, stock sales and purchases and improvements (1916-1918)

NBAC 1-410: Corona Station rainfall returns including out-stations (1911-1953). Includes rainfall chart from 1883. Out-stations include Silsoe, Marmboo, Oolaberri, Highfields, Woolshed, Grongal and Eight-mile

NBAC 1-434 Bladensburg Station rainfall records (1897-1953)

NBAC 1-444 Headingly Station rainfall returns (1910-1953)

Z629-945 Correspondence file - rainfall - Includes general predictions from the Bureau of Meteorology and rainfall averages for Brighton Downs, South Galway, Mt House, Drildool, Goonoo Goonoo, Toolebuc, Caldervale, Warranilla, Auvergne, Newry, Argyle Downs, Fielder Downs and Joanna Plains Stations (1977-1992) 

Z629-947 Correspondence file - rainfall - Includes rainfall forecasts for Beresford, Bulloo Downs, Fort Constantine and Strathmore Stations (1989-1991)


Australian Century Farm and Station Awards applications

Alpana Station, Flinders Ranges, South Australia

N355-7: History of the property, including rainfall records

Australian Estates Company

NBAC 5-20: Kilcummin Station papers relating to bores, rainfall, rent, Yacamunda Station, payments to Sutherland and finances (1880-1927)

Australian Mercantile Land and Finance Company Limited

NBAC 6: Rainfall was recorded in the monthly returns for stations, including Angledool Station, including Lianillo, Arumpo and Pan Ban, Barratta, Bogamildi, Boolcarrol, Burrabogie South, Calga, Yerinan, Charlton, Dunlop and Nocoleche, Dunumnral, Florida, Maneroo, Milroy, Mossqiel, Nelyambo, Retro, Ringorah, Summer Vale, Tinenburra, Terala, Toorale, Yanda, Yerinan, 

Search the PDF list of this collection (link above) to see descriptions of other items referring to rainfall in this deposit

NBAC 97-7: Table of rainfall figures for Retro station (1878-1925)

NBAC 132-16:Rainfall records kept at the company's stations (1893-1969)

NBAC 162-2802: Daily rainfall statistics for Company and selected properties (1957-1970)

N110Australian Mercantile Land and Finance Brisbane and Townsville Offices deposit

The Townsville Office was opened in 1924 to serve the sheep farmers in the North Queensland district. The office experienced a high level of indebtedness of its clients, a severe drought and the financial pressures of the depression. The poor performance of the office resulted in liquidation in 1938. Warrong Station, situated in the Mitchell district of Queensland, was indebted to Australian Estates Co Ltd from 1917 to 1929 and the records were created at the Brisbane Office of the company during the period of the debt.

Burns Philp and Company

N145-298: Island Agencies Department Nerada Tea Estates Pty Ltd (1969-1970). Includes rainfall figures in Innisfail in 1970

Cavan Station (Southern Tablelands, New South Wales)

Station diaries record weather 1842-1845, 1869-1942


Use quick search box to search for weather to see more information about station diaries

Colonial Sugar Refinery Company (CSR)

NBAC N74-335 to NBAC N74-34814 volumes of rainfall records of CSR Mills and plantations in New South Wales, Queensland and Fiji (1882-1966). Digital copies available on Open Research

NBAC N268-249 to NBAC N268-260: Macknade Mill weather observations (1897-1989)

NBAC N268-261 to NBAC N268-271: Victoria Mill weather observations (1930-1996)

NBAC 142-2974 to NBAC 142-2975: Harwood weather reports to Head Office (1882 - 1919)

NBAC N305-U2-0-5: Fruit Canning Division data re monthly rainfall, length of season, area planted and harvested (c. 1940s)

The CSR collections also contain many photographs, including of weather events. Please see the separate Photographs section for more information

Dalgety and Company Albury Branch deposit

NBAC 139-2251: New South Wales Pastoral Stations - Shows statistics of average monthly and annual rainfall for selected stations (c. 1924)

Elder Smith and Company

NBAC 8-196Rainfall statistics, South Australian towns (1880-1907)

Elmina Station (Queensland)

NBAC N239-48: Elmina Station - Average annual rainfall figures (1896-1965)

Eremeran Station (New South Wales)

NBAC 113-23B: Monthly reports, giving rainfall, stock numbers, state of pasturage, water position and other information (1938-1939)

NBAC 113-24: Weekly reports, giving rainfall, state of pasturage, stock sales, lambing, shearing etc (1939-1964)

NBAC 113-83: Rainfall observations (1886-1963)

Goldsbrough Mort and Company

NBAC 98-9: Papers about rainfall in South Australia and the Northern Territory, wool marketing, Kangaroo Island and other matters (1938-1947)

Lake George Mines (New South Wales)

NBAC 67-34: Notes on rainfall and water catchment area, Captain's Flat (1927-1929)

Mackenzie James Wilson collection

Wilson was a jackeroo, station manager, pastoral inspector, pastoral consultant and general manager of pastoral companies. This collection includes papers relating to Wilson's work for the New Zealand & Australian Land Company and Dalgety Australia.

NBAC N393-36: Drought Feeding (M J Wilson's notes on costs, types of feed, government information & clippings) (1965-1968)

N393-43: Rainfall figures at the company stations (1970)

Rainfall figures for Oakwood, Boatman, Bangate, Midkin, Telleraga, Yarraldool, Wingadee, Quabothoo, Womboin, Gunbar, Willandra, Tchelery, Pevensey, The Yanko, Bundure, Grong Grong, Yammatreet, Dromore and Yathroo stations

N393-148: Small map (privately drawn?) of the Carandotta and Binyeah holding which includes information about rainfall


Manfred Station (Balranald, New South Wales)

N431-41 to N431-71Monthly returns recording weather conditions (1911-1954)

N431-75 to N431-91Weekly reports recording rainfall (1938-1955)

N431-226NSW rainfall map showing rainfall of towns and individual properties (1902)

McDowells Limited (Sydney, New South Wales)

Clothing and footwear retailer

NBAC N249-18 to NBAC N249-20: Daily Trading Registers, also recording daily weather conditions (1915-1941, 1969-1971)

McKillop and Sons Proprietary Limited (Buddah Station, Narromine, New South Wales)

NBAC N385-210: Buddah rainfall (1880-1960). Journal recording monthly and annual rainfall. Also includes some newspaper cuttings relating to weather

NBAC N385-211 and NBAC N385-212: Weather books (1924-1940)

NBAC N385-273: Journal re rainfall, seasons, weather for Loomeah and Buddah, including averages from 1880s (1939-1973)

Mercadool Station (John David Hill) collection (New South Wales)

N392-70: Rainfall observation charts for Mercadool (1953-1991)

N392-89: CD of listing of Hill / 'Mercadool' papers including rainfall records and images

Mount Wood Pastoral Station (western New South Wales)

N229-15Rainfall (1952-1955)

New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, Rockhampton Branch deposit

NBAC 110-5-275Manager's correspondence file - Flood (1918-1951)

Peel River Land & Mineral Company

NBAC 161-269: Rainfall record book (1874-1951). Includes stations: Goonoo Goonoo, Currawillinghi, Moorlands, Avon Downs, Mount Margaret, Caldervale, Coonamble (Sandy Camp, Narraway and Wootan) and Brewon.

NBAC 161-270: Statements of rainfall at Goonoo Goonoo, Caldervale, Avon Downs, Sandy Camp, Narraway and Wootan (1925-1947)

NBAC 128-33-1: Schedules detailing leases and lands occupied, carrying capacity, stock records, shearing and rainfall figures and internal arrangements for Goonoo Goonoo, Moorlands, Currawillinghi and Eagle Grange (c. 1853-1928)

NBAC 115-30-9: Shearing and rainfall schedule, listing numbers advised by cable, actual number shorn, average per sheep, with rainfall figures, and remarks for years (1913-1929)

NBAC 115-47: Eagle Grange station diaries, with details of work performed and rainfall figures (1932-1936)

Squatting Investment Company

NBAC 3-66: Rainfall returns, Thurulgoona, Quantambone, Tondeburine and Bedford Park Stations (1881-1944)

Victoria River Downs (Northern Territory)

NBAC 42-9: Western properties stock returns to Bovril Australian Estates Ltd (1944-1952). Properties include Victorian River Downs and Walgra Stations and the returns include details of cattle, horses and mules, including number transferred, branded and sold, and comments on stock condition and rainfall.

NBAC 87-1-1 to NBAC 87-1-4: Day books, recording sales of stores and supplies of rations as well as rainfall figures, killings for rations and stock branded (1909-1925)

NBAC 87-6-1 to NBAC 87-6-21: Diaries, including work schedules of employees, rainfall figures, arrival of mail, arrival and departure of people (1920-1960)

WG Davies and Company

NBAC 154-134 to NBAC 154-137: Statistical books showing rainfall, lambing and weaning results, stock produce sales and shearing returns (1908-1968)

NBAC N375-18: Lansdowne stock and rainfall returns (1968-1971)

NBAC N375-26: Lansdowne inspection reports, includes reports on stock, rainfall, equipment and staffing (1958-1970)

NBAC N375-85: Lansdowne stock and rainfall returns (1968-1971)

NBAC N375-208: Rainfall in Queensland published by the Queensland Primary Producers' Cooperative Association (1947)