This article investigates the contribution made by indigenous employees to the work of the Hong Kong Observatory from its inception and into the early twentieth century. As has so often been the case in Western histories of science, the significance of indigenous workers and of women in the Hong Kong Observatory has been obscured by the stories of the government officials and observatory director(s). Yet without the employees, the service could not have functioned or grown. While the glimpses of their work and lives are fleeting, often only revealed in minor archival references, this article seeks to interrogate these sources to make these workers’ lives visible and to offer an examination of everyday working relationships at this place and point in time. It focuses on three areas. First, an exploration of who these workers were, and the role they played at the observatory. Second, an investigation of their contribution to the nascent science of meteorology. Third, an examination of available evidence – levels of high staff turnover, complaints, instances of foot dragging, or working to rule, as well as the tenacity to continue for years under difficult working conditions – to demonstrate the ability of workers to reject or to negotiate with colonial/patriarchal authority. In profiling their stories, this article will add to the literature examining the lives of scientific workers and their contributions to science, the everyday cultural and social contexts of colonial meteorology, and the role of ordinary men and women in producing meteorological knowledge at this time.