Sir Charles Todd
Weather Folios 1879-1909
The images contained here are a complete record of all the pages in the weather folios
created by Sir Charles Todd’s office, Government Astronomer and later Meteorologist for
the Colony of South Australia. The folios contain daily Australian synoptic charts,
sometimes encompassing New Zealand, and clippings of newspaper articles, telegraphic
and handwritten information about the weather mainly in east and south-eastern Australia,
with occasional reference to other parts of Australasia and the world.
The folios represent a detailed contemporary view of weather of the day as determined by
South Australia's weather professionals, and as detailed mainly in the press of the day.
The folio series cannot be considered a complete record of weather as not all contemporary
weather observations were included in the folios (eg. wet dry bulb, ground temperatures,
etc) and Todd's employees were not equally diligent in their capture of relevant news
clippings through the whole of the 31 year period. However, the 25,000+ images are a
valuable starting point for weather researchers interested in east and south eastern
Australian weather between 1879 to mid 1909, when each Australian colony had its own
Researchers should refer to the manifest for a complete account of the images and for
instructions on how to best use them in research endeavours. There is also an image of
what the journals looked like in their original bound state, a sample animation of a 10 day
run of synoptic charts (1886), a sample of data digitised from the folios, and a monograph
detailing the highlights of the folios. These are all found in the Resources folder.
The images were created by the volunteer unit of the Australian Meteorological Association
hosted by the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, South Australia. They are
lower resolution versions of the original images. Original copies are available from the
National Archives of Australia. The volunteer unit is continuing to image post-Todd weather
folios and has completed to 1930 (as of May 2012) making for a complete run of 50 years of
synoptic charts and press clippings. They are also digitising weather data for inclusion in
the international surface pressure data bank at the NOAA, assisting climate change analysis
These images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
You are free to share, copy, distribute, transmit and to remix and adapt these images but
you must attribute the work to the authors/creators, The Australian Meteorological
Association and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, but that does not suggest that they
any way endorse you or your use of the work.
Charles Todd was one of the pioneers of meteorology in Australasia. As the Government
Astronomer for the Colony of South Australia, he worked with his counterparts in the
other British Colonies and established the Australia-New Zealand weather observation
network. Being at the centre of the telegraphic network, Todd used the observations from
all the Colonies to create extensive synoptic charts . In the early 1880’s, Todd and his
staff at the West Terrace Observatory were drawing inter-continental weather charts that
had a greater geographical reach than any other meteorological jurisdiction in the world.
Todd’s ability to pull together the individual threads of technology, weather science and a
widely dispersed group of weather observers put him at the forefront of his profession.