Computing History

The Pearcey foundation is involved in many activities that aims to preserve our ICT history.


The Pearcey Foundation's computing history activities include:

  • Establishment of a Pearcey Museum
  • Updating the Pearcey related pages on Wikipedia
  • Contributing to
  • Being the custodian of the IDG Pearcey portrait
  • Working the Museum of Victoria on maintaining the CSIRAC display
  • Providing a repository for Australian ICT heritage, capabilities and heroes

Computing History

Dec 27, 2021

Historical Papers

This section contains a collection of papers and notes about Australian ICT history.

Dec 23, 2021

CSIRAC - Among the First Electronic Stored Program Computers

In historical terms, CSIR Mk1/CSIRAC was one of the first stored program, electronic, computers.

Prior to 1948 various electromechanical machines (non-electronic computers) were built in USA and Germany. Early electronic, but not stored program machines, were ENIAC (USA) and numerous Colossuses (Colossi?) at Bletchley Park (UK).

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Nov 29, 2021

Early Australian Internet

In 1986, a year after the Internet domain name system was deployed, Australia' country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) came into being at the approval of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute (performing IANA's function at the time).

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Jun 15, 2021

CSIRAC: How to name your computer

On June 14, 1956 the computer CSIRAC was officially recommissioned at the new Computation Laboratory at the University of Melbourne.

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Nov 29, 2020

Connections in the History of Australian Computing

This paper gives an overview of early Australian computing milestones up to about 1970 and demonstrates a mesh of influences. Wartime radar, initially from Britain, provided basic experience for many computing engineers. This is an excellent perspective on how Australia influenced the development of the digital computer as we know it today.

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Nov 26, 2020

The world’s biggest non-IBM IBM network

Nobody much remembers it now, but 40 years ago Australia built one of the world’s largest computer networks. In 1981 Australia’s Department of Social Security (DSS) began planning an ambitious network to connect all of its 210 Australian offices in real time.

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Sep 30, 2020

The History and Future of Wi-Fi: from Radiata to Morse Micro to Beyond!

Pearcey Conversations online seminar 30 September 2020 covered a retrospective from three key figures behind Radiata, the Australian startup that commercialized the Wifi chip conceived at the CSIRO Radiophysics in Sydney in the early 1990s.

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May 27, 2020

Australia’s first computer conference

In August 1951, a conference was held at Sydney University’s Department of Electrical Engineering. It was the first computer conference ever held in Australia and only the ninth computer conference anywhere in the world.

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Nov 14, 2019

2019 CSIRAC 70th Anniversary

Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of CSIRAC: Australia's first stored program digital computer and the world's fourth. Presentations by eminent speakers honour Dr Trevor Pearcey's legacy and catch a glimpse of what the future holds for Australian innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology in society.

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Jun 22, 2019

ABC Science Show – CSIRAC the first computer to play music

On Saturday 22 June 2019, the ABC Science Show had a special feature Recreating the first digital computer music. Presented by Carl Smith in the second half of the podcast (31 minute mark).

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Jun 27, 2016

How Australia played the world’s first music on a computer

We don't think twice about playing music via a computer - we have them in our pockets, and in our homes and offices, with music on tap. But playing music on a computer was once an almost unthinkable leap of the imagination and the most devilishly difficult programming challenge.

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Jun 15, 2016

The Birth of the Computer Revolution

Computing underpins every aspect of our lives, from smart phones to the robots that assemble our cars.

It gathers data on traffic, schedules deliveries and tracks parcels. It is embedded in cameras, remote controls, air-conditioners, and even toasters. It matches us to partners, suggests our purchases, and tracks our fitness. And so much more.

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