Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

We Break Into New Zealand

Issue 1, October, 1970

"The New Zealand computer conference at Dunedin was a resounding success for Control Data in more ways than one - we demonstrated our equipment for the first time in the Dominion and we learned of our first computer order.

We have received a letter of intent from the New Zealand Ministry of Defence for a dual 1100 message switching system similar to that recently delivered to the R.A.A.F.

The system is scheduled for delivery to Wellington in the latter half of next year.

The sale represents the first fruits of the decision to send Bob Secombe to open an office in Wellington last year. Unfortunately Bob was unable to attend the Dunedin conference because he was then in hospital recovering from a knee operation.

However, Control Data was represented among the 450 delegates at the conference by Peter MacGregor, Laurie Lee (customer engineering Sydney), Bob Easson (Data Services Melbourne) and Colin Gardine (Systems Division Melbourne). Also present was Wing Commander "Digger" Harding of Flight and Field Services who has represented Control Data in New Zealand for four years.


The Data Services Division combined with telecommunications authorities In Australia and New Zealand to connect a Marc II terminal at the conference exhibition in Dunedin with the 6600 Data Centre in Sydney.

It was the first time a computer link of this kind had been established between the two countries.

Delegates were given a first-hand demonstration of the effectiveness of the 6600 Data Centre in processing jobs entered into the Marc II and transmitted over a telecommunications route of nearly 3000 miles.

The formation of the link involved several weeks of planning. In Sydney, the 6600 was connected over an A.P.O. line to the O.T.C. which provided the circuit to Auckland by submarine cable.

The N.Z. Post Office provided the link to Dunedin with both co-axial cable and micro-wave link.

For Control Data, the Sydney end of the project was handled mainly by David McNab, district manager administration in the Data Services Division. and Doug Watkins of the customer engineer, who looked after the technical side, and maintained liaison with the A.P.O. and the O.T.C.

In effect, the 6600 and the Marc II were connected by a single dedicated line which transmitted data at the rate of 2400 baud.

Editor : An edition of Flash dated 19 March, 1984 noted the passing of Harding: the report suggested he headed the NZ operation of E. L. Heymanson when they were granted the agency for CDC on 1 January, 1962, although John O’Neil thinks the connection may have instead been “Digger” being the representative in N.Z, for Lockheed, the agency Heymanson held here in Australia. Flash noted his initials as "A.H', but a NZ report on his passing suggested that he was so commonly known as "Digger" that virtually no-one knew his given names of Alfred Henry!