November 15, 2015 /
September 20, 2014 /
May 9, 2012 /
June 16, 2011 /
September 26, 2002 /

On 26 September 1902, exactly 100 years ago today, the people of Charleville tried to make rain.

Stationed around the town were six Stiger Vortex guns, their long, funnel-shaped barrels aimed skywards.

At noon the guns were manned, and at the direction of the Mayor, ten shots were fired from each in quick succession’.

Charleville’s assault on the weather was marshalled by Queensland’s energetic, but irascible meteorologist, Clement Wragge.

[Wragge enters reading from paper]

‘Soon after the firing a few drops of rain fell, and at 2 o’clock a slight shower fell. At the time of firing the guns a strong wind was blowing, which doubtless interfered with the force of the vortices’.


‘Later – A second experiment with the Stiger Vortex guns was made at half-past four this afternoon, but without any visible results. An accident happened to two of the guns, one stationed at Mr Ormiston’s paddock, and the other at Mr Spence’s residence; each of these guns had a large piece of iron blown out of the sides, making them worthless…’

[Slams down paper, takes up pen]

To the editor, Brisbane Courier, dear sir… Read MoreWragge

May 3, 1998 /
Cabinet of Curiosities
The Cabinet of Curiosities

Learned friends, a little over twelve months ago, I had the honour of addressing another distinguished gathering. My subject on that occasion was a rather unusual artefact that my colleagues and I had discovered – an item we came to call ‘The Cabinet of Curiosities‘. In the intervening months we have continued our researches into this object and have uncovered some disturbing facts. To be blunt, I believe that we have unearthed evidence of a widespread and long-standing conspiracy. Read MoreA conspiracy reveal’d

March 3, 1998 /

On Sunday I was listening to the local ABC station, 2CN, when a bloke came on talking about “unsung heroes” of Australian history. Apparently it’s a regular spot, and it so happened that the two heroes being sung on Sunday were scientists – Ferdinand von Mueller the botanist, and John Tebbutt, the astronomer. However, my initial pleasure at having scientists included in such a forum, quickly turned to frustration. Read MoreUnsung heroes

June 15, 1995 /
Tim Sherratt, speech at the Australian Science Archives Project's 10th birthday celebration, 15 June 1995


On behalf of ASAP I’d like to welcome you all here to help celebrate our 10th birthday. This is a milestone that, at times, it seemed we might never reach, but here we are, stronger than ever. If you haven’t already guessed, this is a night of rampant self-congratulation, mixed with some myth-making, and perhaps also a little reflection – just how did we make it this far? I believe it had a lot to do with the ‘V’ word – vision. Read MoreEn-visioning ASAP