Inigo Jones’ Obi Obi Creek artwork donated to Sunshine Coast Art Collection
  • Tuesday 18 October 2016
The family of renowned long-range weather forecaster Inigo Jones has donated an oil painting by the amateur artist to the Sunshine Coast Art Collection.

Mr Jones moved from England with his parents in the 1890s to a farm called Crohamhurst in the Glass House Mountains where he built an observatory, and later became a full-time weather forecaster.

Arts and Heritage Portfolio Councillor Rick Baberowski thanked the family for their generous donation, describing it as a celebration of the weather forecaster’s love of the region and painting.

Cr Baberowski said the painting also provided an important link to the associated story about the need and increasing reliance on accurate long-range weather forecasting by Australian farmers.

“This beautiful painting ‘Obi Obi Creek’ by Inigo Jones, will be enjoyed by the community thanks to the generosity of the Inigo Jones family,” he said.

“It represents the work and thinking of a man who made an important and provocative contribution to the history and development of long-range weather forecasting as an emerging science and helped to elevate understanding of its importance to the farming community.

“The Sunshine Coast Art Collection has been curated by council over many years and aims to encourage enjoyment and awareness of the visual arts while supporting our creative arts community. 

“It also speaks to the region’s heritage and the people who shaped it.

“The artworks acquired for this special collection are housed on the walls of council and public buildings such as council chambers, libraries and entertainment venues.”

Division 5 Councillor Jenny McKay said Sunshine Coast Libraries were vibrant community hubs that brought people together for many reasons.

“Our libraries support and promote our cultural diversity by showcasing vibrant and stimulating collections, exhibitions and events that inspire appreciation of the region’s past, present and future,” Cr McKay said.

“Given its proximity to the site of the Obi Obi Creek, Maleny Library is the ideal location for the unveiling and display of the beautifully restored ‘Obi Obi Creek’ artwork painted in 1931.

“I was interested to learn that in addition to making a name for himself in long-range weather forecasting, Inigo’s pastimes included painting in his beloved library, reading and music.

“On behalf of council, it is such an honour to welcome the family of Inigo Jones to Maleny Library today and we thank them for this beautiful artwork.

“Visitors to Maleny Library will also be fascinated by the items displayed in the heritage levy funded Museum Box of Inigo's weather forecasting implements and historical information provided by the Peachester History Committee Inc. 

“These heritage items, displayed as a mini pop-up exhibition, provide an insight into this fascinating local identity who has been referred to as a weather prophet.”

Some objects on display as a part of the museum box include an early telescope, believed to have been brought to Crohamhurst by the Jones family in 1892, Crohamhurst Observatory Papers from 1935 and 1939, a copy of one of Inigo Jones’ long-range forecast charts and a desk set, including ink stand, inkwells, quills, and visiting cards.

The artwork and historical display will be on show at Maleny Library until November 21. 

It will then move to Beerwah Library from November 22 until December 19. 

The artwork only will also be displayed at Kenilworth Library from December 20 until January 17.

Inigo Owen Jones 1872-1954
Inigo Owen Jones (1872-1954), meteorologist, was born on 1 December 1872 at Croydon, Surrey, England, son of Owen Jones, civil engineer, and his wife Emilie Susanne, née Bernoulli, of a famous scientific family. Emilie's mother Dorothy Inigo-Jones was descended from the architect Inigo Jones (1573-1652). 

In 1874, his parents migrated to Queensland where his father designed roads and railways. In 1888, the colonial meteorologist Clement Wragge persuaded Jones to serve a cadetship in his office rather than attend the University of Sydney. 

Jones began to develop a special interest in long-range forecasting on the basis of sunspots.

In 1892, his parents bought a farm about sixty miles (97 km) north of Brisbane and named it Crohamhurst after a property near Inigo's birthplace. Inigo joined them there and on 2 February 1893 recorded an Australian record for one day's rainfall of 37.714 inches (958 mm). 

For the next 30 years he lived in relative obscurity, helping his father with pioneering work on the farm and continuing meteorological research as a hobby stimulated by first-hand experience of the farmer's dependence on weather forecasts.

In 1923, Jones successfully predicted the end of a dry spell and the resulting press publicity created demands for his forecasts. 

Urged on by scientific and other friends, he became a full-time forecaster — lecturing, writing and seeking sponsorship in 1927-34.

The Queensland government appointed him director of the Bureau of Seasonal Forecasting of the Council of Agriculture, and with contributions from governments and industry, the Inigo Jones Seasonal Weather Forecasting Trust was formed in October 1928. 

From 1929, he wrote forecasts for many Australian newspapers. (Extract taken from the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vo. 9, 1983)

Image credits
Hero image : Pictured left to right: Division 5 Cr Jenny McKay, Naomi Love (granddaughter of Inigo Jones), Richard McDonald (conservator), Jocelyn Morgan and Jan Gresham from Peachester History Committee Inc. at today’s unveiling.

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Some objects on display as a part of the heritage levy funded museum box include an early telescope, believed to have been brought to Crohamhurst by the Jones family in 1892 and a desk set.