The Heritage Project
Celebrating the story of Australian Computing through the digital age.
The History of ICT in Australia is a broad and exciting project to create an important piece of our national heritage.
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.
Please contact us.
The Story of Australian Computing Through the Digital Age
Phase 1 - Book of Australian ICT Heritage
The Pearcey Foundation has commissioned a new history of the Australian computer industry. The book, now well underway, will incorporate oral histories and the collection of documents and artefacts about Australia’s long and significant role in the history of information technology.
The Pearcey Foundation will encourage, and where possible participate in (currently in progress with the University of Sydney), the gathering of oral histories and biographies and the identification and cataloguing of significant objects and documents held by organisations or individuals.
Phase 2 - Virtual Museum of Australian ICT Heritage
Like the Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota, this virtual museum will provide a single access point or “one stop shop” which links to the many and varied collections and archives across Australia, which record our journey in the digital age.
The Pearcey Foundation will establish and maintain an on-line repository of oral histories, biographies, images and digitised documents
with linkages to other physical and virtual collections across Australia.
The book 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.
The book was initially conceived and researched by Graeme Philipson, one of Australia’s leading computer journalists and industry
historians. However, Graeme was taken from us all in early 2021 in a tragic accident - see Vale Graeme Philipson.
The project will be overseen by a distinguished editorial advisory group, drawn from all parts of the industry across Australia.
Led by respected ICT academic, Peter Thorne AM, the role of this advisory will be to monitor project milestones, advise the author, suggest sources, and ensure thorough coverage of people and events.
The Early Years
Australia Gets a Computer Industry– The 1960s
The Roaring 70s
The PC Revolution
Enterprise Computing in the 1980s and 90s
Australian Software Shows the Way
The Internet and the Comms Revolution
Into the 21st century
The Pearcey Foundation intends to extend the Heritage Project well beyond Phase One (the book) – with the aim to become ‘the’ central repository – hosting a ‘virtual museum’ of Australia’s computing artefacts, documents and oral histories from key players. Your support of the project will contribute to:
you share the Pearcey Foundation’s vision and its efforts to raise awareness of the critical role science, research and
commercialisation play in a sustainable and globally competitive Australia, please consider coming on board as a Partner.
We see the book and virtual museum as the vanguard of a longer-term history project, providing an Australian equivalent of the Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota.
The enthusiasm and offers of collaboration towards the project, so far, have indeed been reassuring, along with some early sponsorship contributions received. However, we will need significantly more funding to complete the book and to develop this project into an enduring national resource.
We would greatly appreciate you and/or your organisation considering partnering with us on this important venture – and encourage you to review Sponsorship Prospectus here.
Donations towards the Project are also very much appreciated and welcomed!
|Help us tell our stories to inspire the next generation
|Document achievements of organisations and individuals
|Build an archive to acknowledge Australia’s contribution to the digital age