Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey


Appointment to Prime Minister’s Staff


Parliamentary Press Release No. 8, April 8, 1973


The Prime Minister announced today the appointment to his personal staff of Ms Elizabeth Reid, 30, a senior tutor in philosophy at the Australian National University.

Ms Reid will conduct research and advise the Prime Minister on a range of domestic issues, especially those bearing on the welfare of women.

Ms Reid was born in Taree·, New South Wales. She has worked for the Bureau of Census and Statistics and for Control Data Australia.

She has been active in women's organisations, including the Women’s Electoral Lobby, the Women's Liberation Movement and the Association for the Study of Woman and Society. She was educated at Canberra High School and the Australian National University, where she graduated Bachelor of Arts with first-class honours in Philosophy. She also holds the Degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in the University of Oxford.

Ms Reid's salary will be in excess of $10,000 a year. The precise figure will be determined by the Public Service Board.



N.B. Miss Reid will be available to meet the Press at her home, 53 Scrivener St., O'Connor, at 5.30 p.m. on Sunday. She has asked that the interviews should not take more than half an hour. Her telephone number is: 47 9047.

A Clash of the Titans?

Ed : There are many reference on the Internet to to Elizabeth Anne Reid (O.A.) and her distinguished career.  Try the WikiPedia version

John O’Neil has kindly supplied the following for our information :-

“Elizabeth was the secretary/PA in the early days of the Canberra office, when it was known as the CD Embassy, being located in a rather nice house (built originally for a doctor, with consulting rooms etc) in the Embassy area of Canberra. At the time CDA set up in Canberra, following the orders from Bureau of Census and Statistics and from CSIRO, office accommodation in Canberra was scarcer than hen’s teeth and it was only with the help of some senior people in the PS that we were allowed to buy the house and to use it as an office.

“During the contract negotiations, Stats and CSIRO required CDC to base an experienced senior technical type in Canberra to lead support for them. Bob Price hired and sent out Bob Barton who brought with him Al Collins. Bob had a high profile in the US computer industry and had worked as a consultant to Burroughs on their B5000 project. Bob and Al spent about 18 months with CDA. Because CDC’s COBOL compilers for the 3600 and 3200 were running late, Bob was instrumental in talking Stats into doing a lot of their coding in FORTRAN, for which we had excellent compilers on both machines.

“During those early years CDA and CSIRO setup a joint team to produce a drum-based operating system (christened DAD) for the 3600. This was far superior to the tape-based SCOPE operating systems supplied with the 3600. It was available to CDC to adopt, but the NIH factor meant that this did not occur.

“Barton was later replaced by Ken Tiede as Canberra manager - Ken had an oil industry computer background prior to joining CDC in the late 50s, and was responsible for development of the 1604 and 3600 FORTRAN compilers”

However, shortly after this page was originally published, Ron Bird responded with an alternate view …

“Just to be accurate I think you will find that Elizabeth Reid was never a CDA secretary. She was a programmer located at the Government Printing office Kingston being the temporary location of Bureau of Census and Statistics IT in 1964 along with a couple of CDA people including me. Elizabeth, Mairi Grieve and I had many robust political discussions at the time”.

Subsequent to his first email, Ron confirmed Elizabeth WAS A CDA employee, but believes she had previously been with Census as above. “John may be confusing Elizabeth Reid with Avril Cruickshank who was the very efficient and only Secretary/PA at that time at the Yarralumla office.

Ron’s version corresponds with her entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography which has her as a programmer, although with no mention of Control  Data.

Bob Barton” was later Professor Robert S. Barton, (February 13, 1925 – January 28, 2009), credited with the design of the Burroughs B5000 - in 1970 as head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Utah, he was the first guest presenter in an Overseas Visitor’s Program established by the Australian Computer Society, the seminar “ "New Developments in Computer Architecture and their Implications for Computer Users" (appropriately held in Canberra)

More on The Embassy …

A quick chat with the boss …