In Australia, at the outbreak of World War II, strict censorship was imposed and all radio programs had to be submitted to censors three weeks before broadcasting
In June 1940, the Department of Information took control of the ABC 7.00pm nightly national news and weather. However, after considerable protests by listeners on the poor standard of broadcasting, control was returned to the ABC three months later! The Bureau of Meteorology was taken over by the Department of Air in July 1940, with responsibilities for providing all meteorological services needed by the defence forces, and as far as possible in days of strict censorship, meet the requirements of essential primary and secondary industries.
On Sunday morning 7th December 1941, a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour and Australia became highly vulnerable to attack from Japanese forces. All meteorological broadcasts of weather information in plain language was suspended’
Action was also taken to discontinue transfer of weather information over the network of pedal wireless stations situated in various outlying areas in northern and central Australia because of it’s possible worth to the enemy.
At the same time censorship regulations closed the normal channels of weather information to private citizens through the press, radio and other media. Meteorological reports and forecasts for pastoral, industrial and general civilian purposes were not possible. However, in the interests of national security it was essential that means had to be found to overcome this problem whilst still denying information to enemy agents.
A conference was called between the, the RAAF Director of Meteorological Services, Chief Publicity Censor and Chief Intelligence Officers of the armedservices and they laid down general principles to govern communication of weather information to the public sector
It was resolved firstly, that the needs of primary and secondary industries in regional districts should be met by special district weather forecasts designed to meet the requirements of the main industry in each district. This was to be telegraphed each day in code to all post offices in the district.
Postmasters were authorised to decode messages and issue plain language weather information to residents whose bona fides were established.
Secondly, that all government departments, municipalities and public utilities to be provided with necessary meteorological information under confidential conditions; and that the needs of private firms and individuals requiring weather information for industrial business purposes would be met on personal application to the Director of Meteorological Services.
Defence service would supply this information in code through official channels, and shipping requirements would be met through the Director of Navigation, Customs Department and Naval authorities. At the same time wireless broadcasts of weather information was limited to daily river heights, weekly rainfall and weather warnings, temperature information 24 hours after the time of observation, river levels, flood and bushfire warnings authorised by the Director of Meteorological Services.