Backward Glance: The Sunshine Coast’s weather analysis has always been in good hands
  • Wednesday 12 August 2015
Opening of Crohamhurst Observatory near Peachester

Owen Jones, an engineer, was the father of long-range weather forecaster, Inigo Jones. Owen Jones designed the Fitzroy Bridge at Rockhampton, roads in the mountainous Peachester district and was one of the first councillors in the newly formed Landsborough Shire Council established in 1912. He was chairman of the finance committee for Landsborough Shire from 1912 until 1917. Crohamhurst is a district off the Stanley River Road between Peachester and Bald Knob.

As a result of his lifetime’s work as a long-range weather forecaster, Owen’s son Inigo Jones, a meteorologist, became one of the district's most famous residents.

Inigo (1872-1954) and his parents Owen and Emilie migrated to Queensland from England in 1874. They purchased the Peachester farm in 1892, named it Crohamhurst after a property near Inigo's birth place, built the residence and an adjacent observatory.

As a young man, Inigo was a student at Brisbane Grammar School where he attained a scholarship to attend Queensland University and was trained by Colonial Meteorologist Clement Wragge. Inigo took weather observations at Crohamhurst from 1892 and in February, 1893, he recorded Australia’s highest rainfall within a 24-hour period – 35.71 inches (more than 900mm). This was the year of the Great Brisbane Flood.

As a farmer, Inigo considered weather important and his mission was to predict the coming seasons. Busy and industrious, he was a member of the Royal Geographic Society of Queensland, the Queensland Historical Society, the Queensland Astronomical Society as well as many overseas societies.

He was appointed cirector of the Queensland Bureau of Seasonal Forecasting in about 1927. In the 1930s, when building the Story Bridge in Brisbane, the Queensland Government commissioned Inigo to project future floods that would affect the Story Bridge.

The observatory building at Crohamhurst was officially opened on August 13, 1935 by the Governor of Queensland, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson.

Renowned long range weather forecaster Lennox Walker (no relation of Inigo) joined Inigo Jones at Crohamhurst in 1935 to predict the weather. The young Lennox worked as a surveyor and forester around Kenilworth and Kilcoy. When Inigo Jones died in 1954, Lennox took over and continued weather forecasting for 41 years. Lennox Walker, and later his son Hayden Walker, recorded and predicted weather conditions.

Learn more about the Coast’s unique history by reading our Backward Glance series. There’s a new story every Wednesday.