Inigo Jones became quite famous as a long range forecaster during his lifetime, although opinions about the accuracy of his predictions were mixed. His Brisbane home from where he conducted his research in the 1920s and 30s is still standing today in Bower Street, Dutton Park.
Inigo Jones was born in England in 1872 and was descendent from both the 17th century architect of the same name and the Bernoulli family of mathematicians. He travelled with his family to Queensland when he was two years old. Jones won a scholarship to Brisbane Boys Grammar School, but instead of finishing his schooling, he was convinced by the brilliant but eccentric Queensland Government Meteorologist Clement Wragge to complete a cadetship with him.
Inigo Jones became interested in long range forecasting during the time he worked with Wragge, who had picked up ideas on planetary effects on climate at the 1891 world meteorology conference at Munich, Germany. Jones’ prediction of the end of a prolonged drought brought him to the attention of the media.
His forecasts and articles were widely published in newspapers throughout Australia from then up until the time of his death in 1954.
Some people put great faith indeed in his predictions. This Highgate Hill women thought water restrictions would have been removed because of his forecast of a flood.
A measure of the enduring memory of his work in rural Australia is that the iconic Australian country music performer Slim Dusty wrote a song about him which appeared on his 1981 album “Where Country Is”.
Inigo Jones established an observatory in a house at the corner of Bower Street and High Street in Highgate Hill. In around 1936, he moved to the family farm ”Crohamhurst” near Peachester on the Sunshine Coast from where he observed sunspot cycles from a purpose built observatory. He believed these and the interaction of the magnetic fields of larger planets influenced our weather.
Jones believed from his research that there were five main cyclical periods of 35, 59, 71, 84, and 165 years. He investigated historical records of weather from these periods in the past to predict the future. Whilst his method has now been disproved, he was ahead of his time in recognizing the importance of magnetic fields.
Lennox Walker, Inigo Jones’ assistant, and later his son Haydn Walker carried on forecasting work from Crohamhurst Observatory.
Further details of Inigo Jones’ methods can be found here.
Also of interest is his biography.