Wragge was a meteorologist born in England. He set up the Wragge Museum in Stafford following a trip around the world. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and in 1879 was elected Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society in London. After training in law, Wragge became a meteorologist, his accomplishments in the field including winning the Scottish Meteorological Society’s Gold Medal and years later starting the trend of using people’s names for cyclones. He travelled widely, giving lectures in London and India, and in his later years was an authority on Australia, India and the Pacific Islands.
Initially he sought a career in law but gave that up and trained as a midshipman at Janet Taylor’s Nautical Academy in London. In 1876 he sailed to Australia, working his passage to Melbourne. He visited his Ingleby relations in Adelaide, including Rupert Ingleby QC, and obtained a position with the Surveyor-General’s Department in South Australia, participating in surveys of the Flinders Ranges and Murray scrub land. He returned to England on the ‘Hesperus‘ in 1878 with his wife, where he went straight to his lodgings in Oakamoor.
During 1881 after learning of the Scottish Meteorological Society’s plans to establish a weather station on Ben Nevis, Wragge offered to make daily ascents and take meteorological observations. This offer was subsequently accepted with Wragge climbing to the top of the mountain on most days between 1 June and mid October, while his wife took comparable readings near sea level at Fort William. As a result of these series of observations, Wragge was awarded the Society’s Gold Medal at a meeting in March 1882. After a second series of observations were undertaken in 1882 a Summit Observatory was opened in 1883. Wragge left for Australia soon after moved to Adelaide and set up a private meteorological observatory. He subsequently set up a weather station on Mount Lofty, before during 1886 he became a prime mover in the founding of the Royal Meteorological Society of Australia. His activities subsequently caught the attention of the Queensland Government, who commissioned him to write a report on the development of a meteorological organisation in Queensland that could help stem the shipping losses from cyclones. The Government was impressed with his work and on 1 January 1887 he was appointed Government Meteorologist for Queensland.
He started producing charts and predictions not only for Queensland, but for other areas of the continent. He further inflamed them by inscribing his reports Meteorology of Australasia, Chief Weather Bureau, Brisbane. In the 1880s and 1890s Wragge set up an extensive network of weather stations around Queensland, and developed a series of storm signals to be used upon telegraphed instructions from Brisbane to Cape Moreton, Double Island Point, Sandy Cape, Bustard Head, Cape Capricorn, Flat Top Island, Cape Bowling Green, Cape Cleveland, Cooktown, Thursday Island and Karumba. He also set up an international service with New Caledonia, by which he received data on the newly laid cable from Nouméa. Between 1888 and 1893, Wragge trained Inigo Owen Jones who became a renowned long-range weather forecaster. In 1895, Wragge set up a weather station near the summit of Mount Wellington, Tasmania, and 1897 established another on Mount Kosciuszko. Wragge was also responsible for the convention of naming cyclones.
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