Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey


Accounts Department Barbeques


Albert Park Lake

St. Kilda foreshore (Catani Gardens?)

Fawkner Park ... and others

I was perhaps remiss in not including these when compiling "Control Data Australia - Daily Life" back in 2013, primarily because I'd forgotten how they operated and I think they became more of a tradition after I left.

Fortunately, Garry Pearce in his interview with Tom Misa in November, 2013 provided some details and Accounts Barbeques were mentioned by two or three other during their session.

I'll let Garry tell the story …

"I think one of the big factors in Control Data being the success they were in Australia, was the linking and bondage, if you like, between the employees. And one of the things that epitomizes that, perhaps, were a thing we used to do in Melbourne. We had a football ground only about five minute drive, at most, probably even three away. And every Wednesday, we would put up in the personnel department first thing in the morning, a chart saying “Barbecue: sausages, steak so much, fruit juice so much, red wine, white wine, beer; giving the prices; you wrote your name down, you put your money in the bag, and the Accounting Department sent two of their people out just before lunch to the local shopping arena, purchased provisions, brought them down to the barbecues, and the staff turned up at one o’clock. And the finance director was the chef for the barbecue.    Misa:   That was you.   Pearce:   Yes. And that happened every Wednesday.    Misa:   So the barbecue was on Wednesday, too.   Pearce:  Yes, the barbecue was on Wednesday, and we did that every week. That enabled the different areas of the company to come together and meet, and discuss, and actually get to know one another a lot better. And that was very, very popular; and the good part about it was the discipline as I was given to understand by an American visitor when he came down and was with us there, he said, if we held this in Minneapolis they wouldn’t be back at their desk just after two o’clock.    Misa:   So it would be 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. So an hour.   Pearce:   Yes.    Misa:   Not a long time.  Pearce:   An hour fifteen was all right. You might be five minutes late coming back. There was no abuse of it at all. And there were no people who imbibed to make their afternoon ineffective.    Misa:   So it was a good time for getting . . .   Pearce:   It was a good time for bonding, cross communication, understanding what other divisions were doing perhaps better than would’ve if that were not the case".   

I think Garry may in his opening remark may have meant "bonding" rather than "bondage", but heck, it was the Accounts Department and anything went there …

I can recall in my time at 598 barbeques across Queen's Road and occasionally on the St. Kilda foreshore, and know in later years they were regularly held  in Fawkner Park behind 493. I think I have also seen references to some on the banks of the Yarra.  

Ian Downie also suggested that they were regularly held at the Repair Centre in Collingwood, but didn’t suggest a location.

Each of the interviewees emphasised that no one took advantage of the barbeques to "make an afternoon of it" - perhaps it as well that Tom Misa had never heard of Jimmy Watson's!