Henry Ambrose Hunt

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For other people named Henry Hunt, see Henry Hunt (disambiguation).

Henry Ambrose Hunt (7 February 1866 – 7 February 1946) was a British meteorologist noted for his contribution to meteorology in his adopted home of Australia. He was Director of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology between 1908 and 1931.

Early life[edit]

Hunt was born in London and as a child spent three years in St Petersburg with his father Edwin Hunt, a marine engineer, who was working designing battleship engines for the Russian Czar. In 1884 his family emigrated to Sydney, Australia.


Hunt began working with Henry Chamberlain Russell at the Observatory. In 1904 he became head meteorologist, responsible for constructing a daily weather forecast and map. In late 1906, Hunt was appointed inaugural head of the nascent Commonwealth Meteorological Bureau in Melbourne, the agency responsible for developing Australian meteorology to satisfy the developing needs of industry. He developed a number of new meteorological theories, collected in a 1929 book A basis for seasonal forecasting in Australia, which led to new research into the relationship between the weather cycle and droughts. As a public figure in charge of an often fallible, yet necessary proto-science, the "somewhat reserved and mild-mannered" Hunt was often lampooned by the Australian press, particularly the satirical Melbourne Punch, who regularly featured him humorously, if affectionately, in the "People We Know" series. The magazine described him as "a pleasant, meek, well-fed gentleman, who seems quite out of place in control of such an untameable gang as the Australian weather elements... it would be hard to say what his percentage of correct predictions is, but this is certain, that it would be a high one".

Before his forced retirement on 6 February 1931, Hunt was considered the foremost weather expert in Australia with an estimated 87% strike rate. He died of myocarditis at his home in Elwood, Victoria on his 80th birthday.


Henry Ambrose Hunt (1866-1946) Gravesite at Brighton General Cemetery (Vic)