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History - Chapter 1 The very beginnings

A very informal meeting which was held during the third Australian Computer Conference in 1966 in Canberra may have been the beginnings of what is now CAUDIT. Those present, mostly academics who also headed their computer centres, who can be recalled were:

  • Professor John Bennett, Basser Computer Laboratories, The University of Sydney
  • Professor Murray Allen, Computer Science (within Electrical Engineering), University of New South Wales
  • Dr Don Overheu, Canberra (Defence Department), previously inaugural Director of the Computer Centre at UQ from 1962 to 1964, later at UC (then CCAE).
  • Professor John Allen Ovenstone, Professor of Computing Science and Director, Computer Centre, The University of Adelaide
  • R.E. (Dick) Kelly, The University of Queensland
  • Ian Hunter, University College of Townsville (now James Cook University)

There were probably others - including possibly Dennis Moore from The University of Western Australia (which had installed in 1965 the first time-sharing computer in Australia, a PDP-6) and perhaps Ken Pope from Queensland Treasury - though the number of universities with computers (and in total - only 14 plus the University College of Townsville) at that time was quite limited.

Matters discussed were almost exclusively around installed hardware of the day - i.e. Site Reports, of which more later. No minutes were taken. No decisions were made other than to hold future meetings when appropriate. But a different path appears to have been followed.

From information supplied by Alan Coulter, of which he has records, a meeting was held in April 1970.

Dr M R (Mike) Osborne, Computer Centre Head ANU, wrote to Professor Gordon Rose (then recently appointed Professor of Computer Science at UQ) advising that a meeting would be held on 23 April at ANU, to be attended also by John Ovenstone (The University of Adelaide), Godfrey Lance (CSIRO) and John Bennett (The University of Sydney). John Ovenstone proposed the Agenda in his letter of 3 April, the major matters being the attitude of the AVCC and federal Government funding of University Computer Centres, topics familiar to IT Directors in later years also.

There appears to have been a gap after the 1970 meeting till in 1974 or 1975 a meeting of some Directors was held at The University of Queensland in association with a Programmers Workshop hosted by the University. Alan Coulter is sure Cliff Bellamy (Monash University) attended and thinks also Peter Claringbold (CSIRO) and two or three more but as it was a very unofficial meeting no minutes exist.

On 5 May 1976 Alan Bell (The University of Melbourne), Nick Capon (The University of Adelaide), Alan Coulter, Bob Donnelly (The University of Sydney), and possibly another, met in Brisbane and this was almost certainly the beginning of some formality.