Clement Wragge, ca. 1901
Clement Lindley Wragge, meteorologist, was born 18 September 1852 at Stourbridge, Worcestershire, England. Orphaned in early childhood, Wragge was educated at Uttoxeter Grammar School in Staffordshire and articled to a London solicitor. In 1876 he joined the South Australian surveyor-general's department. Wragge studied meteorology and in 1878 returned to Britain where he established weather observation stations.
He offered in 1881 to make daily ascents of Ben Nevis during the summer of that year in order to take meteorological readings, with the Scottish Meteorological Society providing instruments. This offer was accepted and Wragge, occasionally relieved by an assistant, climbed the mountain daily from 1 June to mid-October, starting out at 5 a.m. Weather conditions on the mountain were often appalling and his subsequent bedraggled appearance led to his local nickname of “Inclement Wragge”. His wife made comparison observations in Fort William. Wragge conducted his observations unbroken between 1 June to 14 October and for his efforts he was awarded the Scottish Meteorological Society's Gold Medal. The following year during the summer of 1882, he carried out a more ambitious programme with the help of two assistants, one of whom was Angus Rankin who later gained employment at the permanent observatory. In 1883 the daily climbs were continued by the assistants.
He founded similar stations in South Australia and founded the Meteorological Society of Australasia in 1886. In January 1887 he was appointed meteorological observer in the Queensland post and telegraph department. Wragge expanded the observation network, issued forecasts, pioneered research into tropical revolving storms in the south-west Pacific, lectured extensively and built an observatory at his Taringa home. After advocating the creation of a national weather bureau he was bitterly disappointed in 1907 when H.A. Hunt was appointed head of the Commonwealth Meteorological Bureau. Wragge moved to Auckland, New Zealand, where he built an observatory. He revisited Queensland in 1913 but failed to win support for his proposed tropical cyclone research centre. He died following a stroke at Birkenhead, New Zealand on 10 December 1922. (Information taken from: Australian dictionary of biography, v.12, 1990) Picture taken by Sir Harold Nicholas of Anstelle(?), 1901 or 1902 on the occasion of Mr Wragge's visit to lecture at Lismore, New South Wales. (Description supplied with photograph)
Picture taken by Sir Harold Nicholas of Anstelle(?), 1901 or 1902 on the occasion of Mr Wragge's visit to lecture at Lismore, New South Wales.