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Computer History

Brief History of Computers in WA & at UWA

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 HERE

History of Me and Computers

50th Anniversary of My First Program (Nov 1961)

The 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
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 Elliott-403-specs-history.pdf.

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 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
Copy available HERE (in case Roger's website suffers that same fate as Jack Smith's...).

And a little at
Also available HERE.

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

IBM 7090

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: HERE
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

IBM 1620

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
A plan was hatched to reconstruct a suitable housing for these salvaged components, and this was achieved in 2012 and can be seen HERE

First Microcomputer

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

Cyber 72

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

Manchester "Baby"

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.

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