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CAUDIT History: From the CEO’s Desk

CSIRAC at University of Melbourne 1956 - the first IT departmentAs the incoming CEO of CAUDIT, I’ve been looking back in time to when CAUDIT was established in 1976.  Many of our universities have been members for over 45 years. Exploring even further into the history of HED, Research, and IT, I discovered that the first computer in Australia, the Mark 1 CSIRAC, was built by the CSIRO. It was then transferred to the University of Melbourne, under Vice-Chancellor Sir George Patton, in June 1956.  Mark 1 CSIRAC was installed in the UM Physics Department, and operated as an ‘open-shop’ facility available to all universities, the CSIRO, government departments and paying businesses. Jointly-funded by CSIRO and UM, the first computing lab was managed by Frank Hirst – arguably the very first university ‘CIO’ (though CIO as a term only came into use in the late 1990s - we used to be called DP - Data Processing - Managers before 1990).
My own passion for computing – all things IT and digital – is shared by my husband. And that’s his father, Don Beresford, in the front left of this photo, doing the one-finger typing into CSIRAC. Don worked his whole life for CSIRO as an engineer researching building materials. And no, our sons have not followed us into IT, probably after seeing how little time a CIO has for their home life (mea culpa, as a CIO and pioneering full-time working mother)!
Fun facts from the office of the CAUDIT CEO, Jenny Beresford
Jenny Beresford
Ref: Computing in Australia: The Development of a Profession. Eds.: Bennett, Broomham,Murton, Pearcey and Rutledge. Pub.: Hale and Iremonger and the ASC. 1994
Full article from the CAUDIT October Newsletter