Brief History of Computers in WA & at
For some of the
history of computers in WA and at UWA (including WARCC), see
[no longer extant - but reproduced HERE]
And also as part of a UWA MSc Thesis by Keith Falloon in 2001 - see
History of Me and Computers
50th Anniversary of My First Program (Nov 1961)
first Program Alex ever wrote:
Written for the WREDAC computer at WRE, Salisbury, SA (a specially built/adapted Elliot 403).
Started November 1961
Published 15 January 1962
7-page program specification: WRE-G11.1.1-program.pdf
Photo of WREDAC WREDAC.jpg
Further information on WREDAC used to be found at
Jack Smith's Website, located at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~jacksmith/wredac.htm
HOWEVER, that site no longer exists.
But some of that material (with a lot more besides!) can be seen at
Again, with a copy of the relevant pages available at
More technical details of the Elliott 400 Series, including the 403 (WREDAC) are in this document.
These Elliott 400 pages were compiled by David Pentecost, and a link to
www.ourcomputerheritage.org can be found on his Wikipedia page, which is at
The WREDAC (Elliott 403) Coding Manual was prepared by Don Overheu (in about 1959), known as TRD39, a copy of which is HERE
Or on Roger Clarke’s website at http://www.rogerclarke.com/SOS/AISHist.html
Copy available HERE
(in case Roger's website suffers that same fate as Jack Smith's...).
And a little at http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/tia/591.html
There is also a chapter on WREDAC in the book on the History of Computing in Australia, written by Graeme Philipson, commissioned by the ACS in 2017, and available at https://50years.acs.org.au/heritage-projects/acs-heritage-project--chapter-7.html.
Also available HERE.
My second computer -
an IBM7090 Picture
My first Time-Shared computer - the Digital Equipment Corp PDP-6.
This was delivered to the University of WA in May 1965, and became the first
commercially-delivered time-shared computer anywhere in the world.
Pictured before it left the factory in Maynard, Massachussetts:
Pictured on delivery, with Dennis Moore sweeping up: HERE
Pictured towards the end of its useful life (1972), with Dennis Moore and
Yow Kwan: HERE
The first computer
in Western Australia was the IBM 1620 delivered to the University of
WA in September 1962. The console and keyboard of that computer are still
intact - pictured together on 13-Dec-02 HERE.
Console close-up (L-half) HERE.
Console close-up (R-half) HERE.
Keyboard close-up HERE.
The following picture shows how they should look if/when properly housed, taken
from the Installation Manual:
Colour photograph HERE (borrowed from http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/)
A plan was hatched to reconstruct a suitable housing for these salvaged components, and this was achieved in 2012 and can be seen
I purchased my first
microcomputer in 1979. It probably was one of the first
microcomputers in WA.
It was an Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P, pictured: HERE
Its technical details can be seen HERE
An amusing anecdote concerning its programming and where it led the
programmer (my son) can be seen HERE
Photo of the Cyber
72 which formed the heart of WARCC when first established (1972) - with
Janette Wrightson (Robin Collins in background): HERE
And the console is gathering dust in a UWA store - see: HERE
In June 1998 I
attended a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of "Baby"
at Manchester - the first programmed computer in the world. It has been
rebuilt and a photo can be seen: HERE
Speech to 50th Anniversary of Computing at
Oxford University, 8-Jun-07
This page last updated 23-Feb-21.