History of Cairns Meteorological Office

Original Met Building
  • The humble beginnings of Cairns Airport extend back to 1928 when a Mr Tom McDonald operated a Gipsy Moth aircraft from a sand strip in the location of the current airport.
  • Cairns Airport Meteorological Office was first established in 1941 during the Second World War as a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Meteorological Office and was home to many Australian and American war planes during the hostilities.
  • The original Bureau building was a small low set wooden structure located just beside the tarmac parking area and housed RAAF Meteorological Officers and Radio Operators who were later reclassified as Flight Service Operators.
  • In the early 1960's the Met Office moved into a DCA two storey Operations Building, housing Flight Service and Air Traffic Controllers. This was to remain the Pilot Briefing Area up until the early 1990's.
  • The Saddle Mountain Radar which provides weather watch coverage for Cairns and the surrounding area  was installed in 1962. It has received several upgrades since then, the last being in 1992.
  • Cairns officially becoming an International Airport in 1984.
  • In 1991 Flight services was disbanded and the tower complex (ATC) moved to the eastern side of the runway complex. The Met office was relocated to our current position (General Aviation), about 700m north of the old site in 1992.
  • The role of the office has changed considerably over the years. From its initial conception as a Pilot Briefing Office, to today servicing not only the Aviation Community in North Queensland but the wider Public and Boating communities as well.
  • Today Cairns office has a staff of 12, consisting of Forecasters, Observers and Technicians.