The DOI for the Eversleigh dataset is :http://dx.doi.org/10.25817/5b46a2a483841.
Belfield, Algernon (2018) Meteorological observations for Eversleigh Station, near Armidale, New South Wales, Australia 1877-1922 (transcribed). The University of Newcastle. Collection.dx.doi.org/10.25817/5b46a2a483841.
This set of climate records, rediscovered on a property in the New England District of regional Australia, have taken a ten (10) year journey (ten years to the day this October) to the world stage, being applauded for their accuracy, and now taking their place among the data sets that scientists across the world use to understand our Earth’s climate.
This paper was released this month (September 2019):
“Meteorological Observations for Eversleigh Station, near Armidale, New South Wales, Australia: 1877-1922.” Howard Bridgman, Linden Ashcroft, Ken Thornton, Gionni Di Gravio, William Oates. The article can be accessed here: https://rdcu.be/bQo8v or here: https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/gdj3.80
<Important for UNE because the New England district is where the recorder, Algernon Henry Belfield, lived and kept his accurate records across a 45 year period, from 1877 to 1922, and where his historic climate records, rediscovered by his dutiful grandson, Richard Belfield, and wife Elspeth, ensured that they remained in public hands and are now preserved in the UNE Heritage Centre under the care of Mr. William Oates.
Important for the UniMelb because one of their rising STEMM stars, and 2014 Eureka Prize recipient, Dr Linden Ashcroft was at the time a PhD Candidate Uni of Melbourne and a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Climate Change (C3), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) Avinguda de Remolins, Tortosa, Spain keeping a watchful eye on the project’s early stages later becoming its prime investigator.
Important for the UON because its Professor Howard Bridgman in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences led the project from its inception, and with the help of citizen scientist volunteers from across the world, shepherded the “scientific” digitisation from the physical records to excel spreadsheets for deeper analysis, as well as Dr Ken Thornton, Historian, who studied the history of the man behind the record-keeping, Algernon Henry Belfield.
The historical weather diaries of New England grazier Algernon Belfield have now been internationally recognised for their high quality in a new publication from the UK’s Royal Meteorological Society. The results — published this month in the Royal Meteorological Society’s Geoscience Data Journal — found that the Eversleigh records are on par with official observations from the Bureau of Meteorology.The records have also been accepted for the International Historical Weather Data Base ACRE, one of only four locations in Australia to meet ACRE requirements.
The Complete Eversleigh Meteorological Observations for the Years 1877 – 1922
Please find below all of the original observation books by Algernon Henry Belfield.
Donated by Richard and Elspeth Belfield.
Digitised by William Oates, Archivist at UNE.
Compiled by Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist at the UON.
Algernon Henry Belfield (1838-1922)
Climate Data – Eversleigh Station – Armidale – New England District – New South Wales
Climate records, weather records, meteorology
The Complete Scientifically Digitised Eversleigh Meteorological Observations for the Years 1877 – 1922 (Dr Linden Ashcroft)
Please find all of the original observations combined into a .txt file – each column is separated by a semicolon.
Also attached is the complete dataset with converted values, using the conversions that Professor Howard Bridgman explained in his talk. Values of -99.9 represent missing observations.
Thanks to the original transcribers.
International Surface Pressure Databank Belfield Data (2016): https://reanalyses.org/observations/international-surface-pressure-databank
Algernon Henry Belfield (1838-1922)
Climate Data – Eversleigh Station – Armidale – New England District – New South Wales
Climate records, weather records, meteorology
DIARY OF HISTORICAL EVENTS
22 October 2009
FILENOTE: Richard Belfield – Meteorological Journals Armidale
Martin Babakhan called 1/10/09. He’s meeting with a family on 13/10/2009 who are offering an archive of meteorological records for the Northern Tablelands region from 1900 on wards. Martin feels this would be an important and useful archive to acquire and wants to know if we’d accept it. We rang him and let him know we would be very interested in them.
Mr Richard Belfield is the grandson of Algernon Henry Belfield (1838-1922) Astronomer and pastoralist; who had an observatory on his property `Eversleigh Station’ near Armidale, New South Wales; member, Royal Society of New South Wales, 1877-1922. Mr Belfield has his grandfather’s journals from 1878-1907 which contain detailed recordings of weather information from his property at Eversleigh Station’ approx 10 km out of Armidale. Richard also said that there was a Newcastle connection through the Anglican Church, as one of the clergy had helped to finance his grandfather’s property. He also mentioned that his grandfather was well connected, and very precise in his readings, more so than the local Post Office, as the books were Government notebooks, and he used a chronometer for precise time recordings as well. Mr Babakhan said that the journals were of priceless value.
Mr Richard Belfield is delighted to donate them to our University of Newcastle (UON), however, after some discussion, we recommended, that since the records originated in the Armidale New England district, that in the first instance he should contact our archival colleague, Mr Bill Oates, at the University of New England (UNE) Heritage Centre. If they are not interested them the UON would be thrilled to accept them.
Richard rang to let us know that Bill Oates was delighted to accept the material, as well as provide us with a CDrom of the images of the journals. He is very keen to get a collaborative project underway between our university and UNE. I said that we would start a regional ‘Mapping our Climate’ project that aims at locating and digitising historical records of climatic data from archival records. People to contact: Martin Babakhan, Pro. Howard Bridgeman, Professor Tim Roberts.
[Additional Information provided via email 15 September 2019 from Elspeth Belfield to Gionni Di Gravio]
– Firstly the records were left to Richard by Henry Eversely Belfield, Richard’s his first cousin, his father, Vere, was the third son of Algernon’s and just for interest Henry was the last baby born at Boolomimbah; his mother was Amelia White which you will remember we visited. Henry owned Warrane which is next door to Eversleigh.
22 February 2010
(MEDIA) “Generous weather donation” Story by Kelly Fuller (ABC New England North West)
1 April 2010
(MEDIA) “Algernon” Story by Kelly Fuller (ABC New England North West) – Richard Belfield, Bill Oates and Judith Grieves were interviewed on Algernon Belfield’s work by ABC Radio over 4 weeks.
12 August 2010 – March 2011
We email Professor Howard Bridgman, Martin Babakhan, Professor Tim Roberts (Tom Farrell Institute), Dr Nancy Cushing and others that Richard Belfield is coming to Newcastle to donate a digital copy of the Belfield climate records with UON.
18 February 2011
Mapping our Climate (BLOG POST)
Announcement that on the 9th March 2011 a digital copy of important climate records dating from 1877 will be deposited with the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections. See: https://uoncc.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/mapping-our-climate/
9 March 2011
Handover Ceremony of Belfield Climate Records to UON Researchers
Climate Archive to Help Predict Extreme Weather Events (BLOG POST)
Photographs from the Handover: https://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/sets/72157626233482570/
NBN TV Broadcast: No longer online
Newcastle Herald: “One farmer’s observations to help others” p.14
First steps towards placing data in Research Data Australia
11 April 2011
Enter Linden Ashcroft PhD Candidate Uni of Melbourne and Heather Stevens
“Hi Richard, Looks like Melbourne researchers at the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) are on the case with the Belfield climate records.”
19 January 2012
“Belfield Climate Archive Expands with new find” (BLOG POST)
“late last year another Register belonging to New England pastoralist Algernon Henry Belfield came to light containing his observations made at Eversleigh Station from 1908-1922.”
13 February 2012
The University of New England Alumni are honouring the memory of Algernon Henry Belfeld his Climate Records that were digitally deposited with our climate researchers via our Research Data Australia portal in a cross institutional collaborative project. Gionni and Howard travel to Armidale and stay with Richard and Elspeth. While there they visit Eversleigh Homestead, and the site of their graves that are now on private property.
28 February 2012
Algenon Henry Belfield Inaugural Lecture “A Gentleman researcher in 19th century New England” by Professor Howard Bridgman at Main Seminar Room Drummond and Smith College, UNE.
29 January 2012
With video by Gionni Di Gravio (filmed as afterthought on iphone) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVciMw0X6DY
8 March 2012
Email from Richard and Elspeth to Gionni Di Gravio “To one of the brilliant creators of mischief”
“John, I had to formalise this little tome by offering my profound thanks for all of your assistance in your craft you are a gem in that crown, I am not kidding I believe this. You have been so pivotal in launching this information to the World you sit back there in the shadows and then make it all happen with speed and efficiency. Elspeth and I both are just so grateful for all you have done for Algernon and as I think the man that he was, you would have certainly met his very stringent requirements to be allowed to mange his climatic affairs. We both wholeheartedly thank you for your dedication and help.
– Richard and Elspeth”
29 July 2012
Email from Scientist Geoff Sherrington – Crowdsourcing?
“By ‘digitised’, does one read ‘transcribed to electronic readable form, as in a spread sheet file’ or ‘machine copy taken as by photocopier or camera, to preserve handwriting’?” – transcribing? “and would do it for a small fee to pay for bread and water in my retirement” – Geoff Sherrington
13 August 2012
Linden contacts us regarding possible transcriptions in OzDocs, but data is trapped in old database.
6 March 2013
(MEDIA) “Grazier’s weather journals hailed a meteorological treasure” (ABC News) Video no longer online.
7 March 2013
(MEDIA)”19th Century weatherman’s trove of records found” By Sarah Clarke
More fits and starts towards transcriptions, but no takers.
17 July 2015
Email to Richard and Elspeth
I’ve spoken to Kai, who uploaded the Belfield Records to Research Data Australia, and asked her the question as to how to we find out who has been using the records, and whether they have published any papers etc. She pointed me to the Belfield site on NOVA (the Uni’s Digital Repository):
The stats tell us that the records have had:
The Research Data Australia sites has had 36 and 44 views respectively:
Our blog pages on the Belfield Records have had the following stats:
2011 – 160
2012 – 9
2013 – 9
2014 – 1
2015 – 0
2011 – 122
2012 – 148
2013 – 144
2014 – 39
2015 – 10
2012 – 130
2013 – 160
2014 – 33
2015 – 8
The Algernon Henry Belfield Climate Ceremony frontpage on Flickr has had 524 views
Individual images having around 650 – 2,554 views per image
The YouTube Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVciMw0X6DY has had 74 views
A search online shows that there has been quite a bit of media, including Facebook, so people do know about it.
But scientists are hard to find, I think its because every time someone tries to write about climate change, they are besieged by militant climate skeptics that hound and troll ( and in some cases threaten death to) them. Many scientists are not good communicators, they like doing their research, and not being badgered, so they tend to retire to bunkers rather than involve themselves in pubic debate.
With regards to what can be done better. From what I gather, it appears that scientists need more than ‘scanned’ books. They need the data extracted into spreadsheets to make it “useable data”. The trouble is who is going to do this work?
15 – 24 September 2015
Enter Linden Ashcroft again, trying to get diaries transcribed, but again runs aground.
30 September 2015
Gionni introduces Dr Ken Thornton (Historian) to Professor Howard Bridgman
Howard contacts Linden and group forms to reexamine and transcribe data from climate records to scientifically digitise.
13 October 2015
First meeting of group Howard, Linden, Gionni, Ken and Bill. (Bill and Linden off site) Ken visits the Belfields to undertake historical research. Howard drafts abstracts for conferences.
Investigate technologies for capturing data, begin trials for transcribing using guinea pigs. Understanding Belfield’s methodology and influences.
Gionni sets up inhouse University of Newcastle “Dropbox” called Owncloud setting up a new regime on Owncloud with our extant files. Created a new set of folders under the working title “Belfield Data Entry”. With that folder there will be a folder for each year containing the relevant scanned files, and the template. Each folder will be allocated to each of the potential volunteer data enterers individually. The volunteers will only have access to their particular folder. The members of the Eversleigh Research Group will have permissions to access them all. Now, we have a cross over date with the initial book between 1877-1878. Then no records for 1879-1881. Then they resume consistently from 1882. We’ve been going well until we get to 1918, and then things get murky. We will need some guidance as to what to include, as most of the records are on loose leaves, there is some overlap with the previous years. Once everyone is set up on Owncloud, Gionni will share his folders with the rest of TEAM BELFIELD. Wishes to be informed as own cloud is activated and he will send out the share requests.
An Eversleigh Research Group has been formed to scientifically digitise the Belfield Meteorological Records, which involves transcribing the original data into excel spreadsheets. We are hoping to enlist around 40 volunteers to undertake this work. Professor Howard Bridgman prepares an abstract to a paper Historical Meteorology and Climatology on the New England Plateau (NSW): The Eversleigh Data Set
– Dr Ken Thornton again conducts research in Armidale
– Own cloud Email to Trevor – We have been using Owncloud to set up the background files for the Eversleigh Project. The Eversleigh Project seeks to transcribe climatic data records taken between the 1870s and 1920s by Algernon Henry Belfield at his property Eversleigh in the New England District. Professor Howard Bridgman is leading this Project to set up a crowd sourcing data entry regime for volunteers to enter the original readings from digital scans of the original ledgers into excel spreadsheets.
We have created individual folders containing
- A year’s worth of readings,
- An excel template and,
- A README file with instructions for the volunteers.
We would like to share each folder on OWNCLOUD with a volunteer, who can read the instructions, access the year’s readings, and enter the data on the excel spreadsheet and save it within the folder they have direct access to. We would like to discuss this project with you, to seek your technical advice, as to whether this is possible, and would appreciate if you could be available to meet with Professor Howard Bridgman, Dr Ken Thorton and myself at either of the following dates and times
– Howard enlists volunteers to trial the OWNCLOUD system and process of entering data, and prepares instructions and tweeks data entry process and spreadsheet template. Volunteers begin coming forward for input of particular years.
– Ken delivers paper Introduction of Belfield and Eversleigh data set(climate research) associated with studies of climate change in the presence of Richard and Elspeth
– Volunteers drafted poster and text is drafted
– Linden suggested a co-authored article for the Conversation to promote the crowdsourcing, late March the article is created.
6 April 2016
BLOG POST: Algernon Wants You
12 April 2016
Conversation article published
By the 20 April 2016:
21 volunteers have been recruited from at least three states.
28 years of data have been begun, 8 years completed.
Using OWNCLOUD for first transnational research project
3 May 2016
“I have just taken possession of another set of meteorological records from Lochivar and “Wollong” in the Hunter Valley. They date from 1846, and I am ecstatic! ” – Gionni Di Gravio
23 May 2016
27 volunteers have completed the data entry to Excel
New Hunter Valley Data Sets discovered – Two sets historic weather records from two stations in the Hunter Valley, Lochinvar six journals 1843-1878 and another from the Wollong Station (Mount Vincent) (Wyndham Family) 1891-1907. Don Seton Wilkinson, a descendant of the Wyndhams is investigating the provenance.
22 March 2017
Uncovering Australia’s climate history since European settlement, together with the Launch of the scientifically digitised Eversleigh Climate Data
By Dr Linden Ashcroft, Senior Researcher
Centre for Climate Change (C3), Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV)
Avinguda de Remolins, 13–15, 43500, Tortosa, Spain
Free Seminar: 22 March 2017 @1PM
Cultural Collections (Auchmuty Library)
1 March 2018
Associate Professor Howard Bridgman, Dr Linden Ashcroft, Dr Ken Thornton and Mr Bill Oates
Algernon Henry Belfield’s Weather Records: an update.
Saumarez House, Armidale NSW
Gionni Di Gravio