This particular barograph was used at Sydney Observatory in the late 1800s. The observatory used barometers at its Sydney location and at weather stations throughout country New South Wales to track storm systems . Data from the barometer measurements were collated and analysed by the observatory's astronomers. These observations allowed the astronomers to predict storm systems and movement in Sydney and to the west of the Blue Mountains.
Australia's weather was a mystery to its early colonists, and instruments such as this barograph were used to measure atmospheric pressure and make weather forecasts for Sydney and its surrounds. Barographs were designed for use by the general public in libraries and reading rooms of clubs, as well as meteorological observers.
The ability to forecast the weather was an important feature of the observatory's work. This barograph remains of national significance due to its pioneering role in Australian science and its association with Australia's earliest astronomers. It is also significant for its association with nineteenth century meteorological instruments and instrument makers.
H. C. Russell, Scientific papers, Notes on some recent barometric disturbances, 1877 [read before the Royal Society of NSW, 5 December 1877]
Written by Erika Dicker, Assistant Curator, November 2007.