Australian Businesses Enter the IT Age
“Do you know what you are doing? “
According to Clark, the ANU 360 had a somewhat disconcerting habit of printing out in the wee hours of the morning questions like, âDo you know what you’re doing? And “Do you know where your wife is?
Another computer product introduced locally in the mid-1960s was the IBM 6400, described as a new line of low-cost accounting equipment. About the size of a desk, it included a card with information sorted alphabetically that served as a memory device for office reporters.
The “alphabetical storage capacity minimizes manual entry of entries during accounting procedures and increases exit speed and production,” according to an advertisement placed in the Financial analysis
At the same time, General Electric boasted in advertisements of Financial analysis that its 225 computers offered “systems flexibility” in fields ranging from defense, engineering, science, industry and general affairs.
Looking back, Clark says the 1960s heralded âan absolute change of directionâ for computers.
âIn the 1950s, computers were specialized tools for universities and defense departments. In the 1960s, they quickly evolved into units that could be used for business and engineering, but not so much for personal use. This latest development appeared in the 1980s, with the mass production of the personal computer.
âThe evolution of technology in the 1960s happened very quickly,â says Clark. âThe competition was intense and telecommunications improved considerably, mainly thanks to AT&T and the invention of long distance data transfer technology. It all started to come together.
âIt wasn’t just the chips, but the periphery – paper maps, improved paper tapes, and magnetic tapes – so we could process large amounts of data, and the fax arrived. The other thing was the evolution of programming data, so you could use a computer for multiple purposes. It was relatively easy to reprogram.
A new reactor
Meanwhile, in 1964, the Sydney Stock Exchange was the first stock exchange to introduce a computer. He used the Quotron system and partnered with Reuters to disseminate stock quotes further.
In the early 1970s, the Sydney Stock Exchange began using telex to communicate with members and other exchanges across the country. Prior to this, various Australian stock exchanges communicated electronically via teleprinter machines first introduced in 1934.
In 1978, communication links between exchanges were greatly improved with the introduction of JECs (Common Exchange Computers), using Honeywell technology.
This system was designed to “be the vehicle for providing common accounting systems and a central script processing system for member firms in Melbourne and Sydney,” according to the 1979 Sydney Stock Exchange Annual Report. It was also planned “for the six member exchanges to be linked by computer to provide a central clearing house, accounting systems and a national market information service.”
Nuclear physics technology, Clark’s first professional vocation, was also developing rapidly in the 1960s, beginning with the installation of a new reactor at the Atomic Energy Commission headquarters in Lucas Heights in Sydney.
The new MOATA reactor became “critical” on April 10, 1961, the Financial analysis reported. The document described it as a “low power assembly” with a maximum thermal output of 10 kilowatts.
âIt will be used for physical studies of reactor materials and reactor core samples. MOATA was supplied by Advanced Technology Laboratories, California, and cost 65,000 pounds.
In the late 1960s, a major step forward in the internationalization of Australia’s economy with the arrival of Encounter Bay, widely regarded as the first container ship to reach local ports.
Easier, faster, cheaper
The Australian route was one of the earliest entrants in container transport due to the high costs of local labor at the dock. Where once goods were loaded and transported as general goods – of all different shapes, sizes and weights – container standardization has made trade easier, faster and cheaper.
However, the huge investments involved in the reconfiguration of ships and ports for the loading and unloading of containers led many shipping companies to work together on the construction of the first container ships. A sort of international pooling system has been put in place.
Many Australians were barely aware of the profound impact of containerization. Encounter Bay had a capacity of 1572 equivalent twenty-foot container units. This compares to modern container ships serving Australia, which typically have a service speed of around 25 knots and a capacity of 4,100 TEUs.
The early start of local containerization was motivated by the high costs of dockside labor. This was in part because of the dilapidated port facilities and the militant history of the Federation of Waterfront Workers. For much of its existence, the union has been dominated by the Communist Party, including prominent WWF officials such as Big Jim Healy and Tas Bull.
After Healy’s death in 1961, WWF aligned with the ALP. A few years later, and after reviewing a report by industrial lawyer AE (Ted) Woodward, the coalition government announced a shift to permanent employment on the conflict-torn waterfront.
The Financial analysis pointed out at the time that new technologies, especially containerization, had changed the waterfront from being “labor intensive to capital intensive”. Huge funds were needed, resulting in the pooling process. One of the first participants was Overseas Container Lines, which included the Peninsula and Oriental Steamship Navigation (P&O), Furness Withy, Ocean Transport and British and Commonwealth.
Meanwhile, maritime containerization received more land competition with the opening in the late 1960s of standard-gauge freight routes, Sydney-Perth. “This is a historic week for Australian railways – the first freight wagons to operate continuously from Sydney to Perth are on their way,” trumpeted the Financial analysis in November 1968.
Around the same time, Carlton and United Breweries were using the latest container technology for another purpose. CUB has announced that its Abbots boutique lager label will come in small, three-piece 13 â -ounce cans with an “easy-open, wide-angle, and super-ring end.”
In collaboration with CUB, Containers decorated the can with a special four-color lithograph on an opaque white background and featuring a black pen and ink drawing of the original Abbotsford brewery.
âTransparent gold bands at the top and bottom of the box contrast with the opaque white background and red letters. The new CUB motif is printed in black and surrounded by a transparent gold band â, the Financial analysis reported.