About the Heritage Project Book

From Pearcey to Quantum Computing

The Story of Australian Computing Through the Digital Age

The Pearcey Foundation has commissioned a new history of the Australian computer industry. The book is the first phase in the Foundation’s major ICT industry Heritage Program, which will also incorporate oral histories and the collection of documents and artefacts about Australia’s long and significant role in the history of information technology.

The book is being researched and written by Graeme Philipson, one of Australia’s leading computer journalists and industry historians. It concentrates on the people who made computing in Australia what it is, including biographies of the almost 60 industry figures who have been awarded Pearcey Medals or inducted to the Pearcey Hall of Fame since these awards were instituted in 1998.

The story starts with Trevor Pearcey in the late 1940s when he designed CSIRAC, only the fourth stored program digital computer in the world. The 70 years since then span a human lifetime and encompass the achievements of an outstanding group of people. The book will be a lasting contribution to the remarkable heritage of the Australian ICT industry and the many achievements of the people who made it happen.

The book is being compiled from original sources and interviews with surviving industry pioneers. Many of these stories have never been told. The material collected for the book – interviews, documents, pictures and more – will all be included in the program archive, fully indexed and accessible by all. It will be an important contribution to a greater understanding of Australia’s important computing heritage, and an invaluable resource to future researchers.

View the Content Outline of the Book below:

The Early Years

  • Trevor Pearcey and the CSIR Mark 1
  • When computers had names
  • Commercial computing in the 1950s
  • Early users in Government and Academia

Australia Gets a Computer Industry
– The 1960s

  • Control Data and Australia’s biggest computer deal
  • IBM shakes up the industry
  • The other major vendors
  • Computers in Government in the 1960s
  • Societies and Associations

The Roaring 70s

  • Fujitsu shakes things up
  • The minicomputer revolution Part 1
  • Australian manufacturing
  • IT in Australian Universities in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Software and services
  • The birth of the DBMS

The PC Revolution

  • The birth of personal computing
  • Australian PC manufacturing
  • PC software and the PC wars
  • The Australian PC market in 1990

Enterprise Computing in the 1980s and 90s

  • The minicomputer revolution Part 2
  • The evolution of corporate software
  • Australia’s major corporate computer users
  • Computers in Government
  • The end of the mainframe wars
  • IT Journalism and Public Relations

Australian Software Shows the Way

  • The Australian software industry 1980-2000
  • Australian financial software and ERP suppliers
  • The Australian IT services industry 1980-2000
  • The investment community
  • Academic and research computing

The Internet and the Comms Revolution

  • Computer communications before the Internet
  • Australian data communications companies
  • The evolution of the Internet
  • Australia invents WiFi
  • From mobile phones to smartphones

Into the 21st century

  • The rise of search and social media
  • Cloud computing and ubiquitous networking
  • Key technologies
  • Australian software in the 21st century
  • The future of the Australian IT industry

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