Control Data Australia - Memories

Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Ex-CDA comments, suggestions, criticisms

“Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be!”


August, 2018

A quiet month - you may like to visit an old friend, the 3200 from Monash University, now prominent in the Museum of Victorian collections and to which we’ve added the original computer room configuration.

Some new and interesting Links, including three new YouTube videos

And also a handful of additions to the CDC TimeLines 1975-79 and 1980-84, mostly social and environmental initiatives probably instigated by Bill Norris.

And thanks to Facebook friends, George Pace and Brendan Nolan, there is a substantial update to our earlier page on the Australian Iron & Steel installation at Port Kembla. Lotsa pitchers!

MIDEN : some anonymous FeedBack reveals that the Miden Peninsula Computer Services mentioned as operating at the same time as MIDEN itself was in fact one of the franchises sold by Doug Dent to carry out maintenance work under the MIDEN banner … be interesting to know if there were others??

The same source obviously was with CDA for some years; he (assumed “he”) recalls 1979-80 the Housing Commission had a System 17/959 OCR docket reader in their Elizabeth Street HQ., but I haven’t been able to trace when it was installed. System 17 released early 1974.

And while on FeedBack, a non-CDA source reveals some interesting FootyFacts on two old stomping grounds, the College Lawn and the Argo.

July, 2018

Contract for the TAB” (1970, ACT TAB, Univac 9400)

A bit before my TAB-time, but I’m sure CDA would have tendered - although the smallest of Australian TABs (perhaps along with Tasmania), the ACT TAB became the world’s leader in terms of the service they offered punters - betting up to race start time, the lowest Government deduction from any pool in Australia, and bet types that others only dreamt about - six-race jackpots on both Melbourne and Sydney races, Quinellas on all races, all-up wagers and others.

I remember that the ACT TAB being so attractive to Victorian and N.S.W. Punters that it was forced to restrict new telephone betting accounts to Canberra residents only.

Yet despite the advantages, a disastrous management decision to construct a palatial new Head Office in the mid-1970s saw the ACT TAB almost “insolvent” and facing its operations either taken over by the Federal Government, or alternatively by the NSW TAB.

Also a few “New” Press Releases (left), including a brief piece on Michael Goldrick, at one time M.D. Of CDA, but largely forgotten, also I’ve taken down some Briefs

June, 2018

While scrolling through the inventory of Oral Interviews on the Charles Babbage Institute site, I recognised several names connected with the early formation of CDC, but another jumped out and made my scratch my head … that of Margaret Loftus.

Links : I’ve added a list of CBI Oral Interviews and several other connections to the Links page, including one well worth a look for anyone who got up close and personal with the 6600. Into technical aspects of the totalizator? Try Brian Conlon’s history of the tote!

Both the CDA and CDC Timelines have several new entries, and a heap more links to press clippings or other background material

VicTAB History

I’ve decided to subdivide this section into two “VicTab and CDA’ and “VicTAB : How and Why”. These have always really been two separate streams - CDA and computerization, and the battles and reasoning behind the formation of an Off-Course betting facility. (The late may soon disappear up into the upper levels of

With thanks to Marcel Dayan, we can reveal much of the background to CRISP Mark II

On-Course : A New Generation shows some interesting On-Course tote tickets circa mid-1970s courtesy of Chris Robertson that indicate the massive advance with the introduction of computerized on-course systems which for the first time started to match facilities taken for granted by those betting off-course

Our earlier page on the early 1970s Australian Iron & Steel installation at Port Kembla now features a number of images kindly supplied via our FaceBook pages.

There’s a link below to the Museum of Victoria’s display of the CDC3200, originally at Monash University and used as CDA’s first Data Centre.

Also updates to CDC TimeLines 75-79 and 80-84


LATEST NEWS : August, 2018

A site dedicated to sharing memories of Control Data Australia and Control Data Corporation and the myriad of ex CDA employees still closely linked by the ethos of a remarkable workplace, largely inherited from Bill Norris of CDC and whole-heartedly adopted by Trevor Robinson after the incorporation of CDA on 17 May, 1963.

Many more CDC brochures and specs at

Ex-CDA minor updates and additions to existing articles Ex-CDA links to pages of interest Ex CDA : Wrigley's Juct Fruit and how it affected our day-to-day lives Ex-CDA : Some new "old" press clippings

“Back To The Future” ???

Came across this clip while watching a DVD of the 1985 movie hit a few weeks ago … Allstate Insurance way back in 1957 took a seven percent holding in the fledgling Control Data Corporation when it provided the finance for CDC’s first acquisition, that of Cedar Engineering’ The advertising sign appeared in the context of the 1955 flashback scenes

One that got away!

In 1960, CDC acquired Arbitron (market research, formerly American Research Bureau founded in 1943.

Whether it was a profitable exercise is debatable : in the words of Bob Price :

“It was probably the worst marketing organization you can imagine. Shortly after I took over the services group that summer, I made a tour with the vice president of sales for Arbitron … I came back and wrote a one-line trip report:

“In the words of the immortal Pogo, I have met the enemy and he is us.”   Pogo

Sorry, Mr. Price, but something went right somewhere along the line - Arbitron passed to Ceridian Corporation in 1991 as part of the CDC split, eventually split off to key shareholders in 2001 as a separate company and was sold in 2013 to major competitor A. C. Nielsen for a lazy $1.26 billion!

Below : the original American Research Bureau in Maryland, 1957

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