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A Vision Splendid - The History of Australian Computing 


Welcome to the history of technology in Australia. The Australian Computer Society has commissioned this timely book, which is more than a history of the ACS. It is a story about the evolution of our industry and the critical role of ACS within it.


An incredible journey – with no end in sight 


Technology in Australia has many facets – academic, government, private industry, society and the many individuals within those sectors. In the 21st century, information and communications technologies are all around us. But it also has a significant history, one that, until now, has never been told. Many of our early pioneers and innovators were ACS members who contributed considerably to major technological advances.


ACS began life in 1966 as an amalgamation of existing state computer societies. Since then, it has become one of Australia's premier professional bodies, at the forefront of accreditation and professional development issues. The ACS has been an integral part of Australia's growth as a digital economy and will continue to play a significant role as the industry and technology evolve.


Life in Australia is very different now than when Trevor Pearcey first turned on his CSIR Mark 1 in 1947. It is impossible to catalogue how much it has changed and the vast role information technology has played, but this book goes a long way towards explaining it. A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing 


was researched and written by Graeme Philipson, a leading Australian computer journalist and computer historian. Graeme has brought to life many people and events that have shaped computing in Australia. We thank him for his efforts and those who have assisted him. In particular, I’d like to acknowledge the work of the ACS Heritage Committee, which includes Michael Hawkins (Chair), Graeme Philipson, Dr Peter Thorne FACS, Nick Tate FACS and Dr Arthur Tatnall FACS. ACS Heritage agents ably supported them: Peter Outtridge; Helen McHugh; Jacky Hartnett; Peter Griffith; Martin Lack; and Susan Bandias, along with many other ACS members who shared stories, pictures and further information.


ACS is proud to have commissioned this book. But it is a story that will never end; in a sense, we will never be finished. We intend this book to be a living document and invite anybody with knowledge of historical events or insights to share them so that this history will continue to grow and evolve.


The book is only part of ACS's ongoing Heritage project. We collect textual and audio reminiscences, important historical documents, images and other material relevant to Australia's computing history. It is essential that future generations have access to this material and understand the beginnings and subsequent development of technology in Australia.


As this book shows, Australia has a proud tech heritage. As ACS enters its second half-century, ‘A Vision Splendid’ is an opportunity to reflect on our many achievements and look forward to what we will achieve together in future years.