“SCIENTISTS NEAR COLLAPSE
Many delegates to the science congress in Canberra will not be able to see the proceedings out till next Wednesday if the heat wave continues. Already women and girls in Canberra for the meeting are exhausted. Weary after a stifling night, the 1200 odd delegates sat at Telopea Park school today, crammed into small, ill-ventilated class rooms, sitting two by two on benches made for children. Delegates looked their discom- fort. Most of the men sat without coats and many without collars. They seemed a degree more comfortable than the women. Last evening’s cool change cleared the air a little, but the heat is still severe. It was 109 in Canberra today. ” The Daily News Thursday 12 January 1939 Page 2. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/82571504?zoomLevel=6
“The thermometer rose relentlessly throughout the day until 3 o’clock, when the record for the Canberra district of 108.5 degrees was reached. Under this broiling heat scientists and their wives gathered in the Parliamentary Gardens and made a gallant effort to take an interest in a garden party arranged in their honour by the Commonwealth Government.”
The Canberra times Jan 12 1939 Page 2. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2474300?zoomLevel=5
Temperatures for the week and over the rest of the counry were hot also. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/39015699?
While 1200 and scientists noticed that it was 108.5 F (42.5 deg C) in canberra in 1939 it seems to have been forgotten. This Nine MSN story claims 41.4 as the record. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/176709/friday-canberras-hottest-in-40-years
The long range weather forcaster’s prediction seems to have been out by a few days. “SYDNEY, Tuesday With the heat wave broken throughout the State, light rain was falling in many inland centres to-day Some good falls were recorded all coastal districts, while there was steady rain on the southern tablelands.” http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2490482?zoomLevel=6
Heavy rain struck right at the location of the meeting a week after the prediction date quoted. http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2484694?zoomLevel=5