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Did Bourke record the hottest day? Why was the record changed?

Liberal MP Craig Kelly says he has evidence proving that Bourke holds the record for the hottest day on 3 January, 1909. Inset: handwritten records from Brewarrina. Photos supplied

Up until the records were changed by the Bureau of Meteorology, Bourke recorded the hottest day in Australia since records were kept.

The record – recorded at Bourke Post Office on 3 January 1909, was 51.7 degrees centigrade, or 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whether the reading was accurate or not is the question being argued by climate experts following the discovery of what one federal member of parliament described as evidence that Bourke held the record for the hottest day ever recorded in Australia.

Member for Hughes, Liberal MP Craig Kelly said he had uncovered old records proving Bourke was the record holder, recording a sweltering 51.7°C (125°F) on 3 January 1909.

After tracking down the historical evidence over a period of months, Mr Kelly visited the Australian National Archive at Chester Hill in western Sydney recently to view old meteorological observation books.

A declared ‘climate change sceptic’, Mr Kelly was on a mission to prove Bourke held the record, which had been deleted by the Bureau of Meteorology. The Bureau did not recognise the data as it was not supported, it said, by other official recordings of extreme high temperatures in the region.

Mr Kelly claimed his research proved otherwise. Through access to the archived book from the weather station at Brewarrina, which is the nearest official weather station to Bourke, he said it could now be confirmed that a temperature of 50.6°C (123°F) was recorded at Brewarrina for the same day, contradicting claims from the Bureau that only Bourke recorded an extraordinarily hot temperature on that day.

It was the highest temperature in the previous 24 hours and Mr Kelly said it corroborated what must now be recognised as the hottest day ever recorded in Australia, proudly held by Bourke.

“That the Bureau of Meteorology denies these record hot days is a travesty,” he claimed.

“Is it because these records contradict their belief in catastrophic human-caused global warming?

The temperature was recorded more than 100 years ago and is almost equivalent to the current, revised official hottest day ever for Australia of 50.7°C (123.26°F) at Oodnadatta on 2 January 1960.

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald. Call (02) 6872 2333 today and receive The Western Herald in your letterbox next week!

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