Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey


ADDITION : December, 2017  

Menzies Hotel (?) Following the style we’ve used for other CDA workplaces, this new page outlines the history of Menzies Hotel - better known to most as B.H.P. House, the home of the Melbourne Data Centre, its Cyber 74 and a small team of operators and support analysts.


Our July, 2013 Melbourne lunch saw the establishment of an informal working group to help assist Tom Misa record the contribution that Control Data Australia made as part of the world-wide activities of Control Data Corporation.

That, of course, is "official" history - great in itself, but by no means the full story as to how life REALLY was.

Hence the idea for a less-formal picture of what life was like on a day-to-day basis - a stroll down memory lane which anyone and everyone is invited to join, either by direct email or via the FEEDBACK above.  

And just perhaps an insight into the fact that people are still catching up for lunch thirty, forty, or in some cases fifty years after they joined Control Data Australia.

The first pass is based very much on my recollections from 1971 through 1975, plus others where I either remained in contact or was press-ganged back into CDA on a contract basis.

Most of the material noted for the pubs in South Melbourne comes from some previous research into hotels in my local district, those in Prahran, Windsor, South Yarra and St. Kilda are lesser in content.

Just how complete the archive may be is open to question - my "forgettory"  these days is rather more reliable than my memory, and, of course, 1971-75 is a relatively small slice of the total Control Data history, so let's hear your own recollections. (especially on 493 St. Kilda Road in which I spent just a few days and have almost complete forgettory of).

The other shortcoming of course is most of this material concentrates on the operations around St. Kilda Road - while this was a hot-bed for the computer industry in the 1960s and 1970s, it does not include anything interstate and only sketchy inclusions on the facilities in the suburban areas of Melbourne where CDA established a presence - Thornbury, Collingwood, Knox and the plants in Moorabbin and Cheltenham.

Fortunately Dick Bament has taken on the cause of the Knox Data Centre and his history is now included on the ex-CDA site.

To date, we haven't included some of the internal events, occasional or regular, such as the Accounts Department barbecues in the park on the Yarra, across Queens Road and in the Catani Gardens in St. Kilda , the wine and cheese nights (was there cheese? Jeez!) presented by the Social Club, (both of which received several mentions in Tom Misa’s later interviews) and nights at Nine Darling Street, Smacka's, The Baron of Beef, The Cuckoo and Fergusson's Winery (sadly, only Fergusson's remains).

Time permitting, these will come, but most of both the sites and memories have disappeared and details may be a bit sketchy without some of your feedback.

Following the 2014 Christmas lunch, Ron Bird came up with two Chinese restaurants that were occasionally used - the Fairy Stork in Acland Street (early 1970s) and the Ging Wah at 198 Toorak Road - the latter is still there and the name does evoke some forgettory, but mostly post-pub sessions with Barry and Jan Wells and others rather than formal CDA affairs.

He's also chucked in The Illiad on the corner of The Esplanade and Fitzroy Street as a post-Chevron haunt and I followed up the two Rathdown Sreet pizza restaurants used for our third-Friday lunches - La Porchetta is interesting in that it originally functioned at the same address as the Porcetta Restaurant from around 1972, long before Rocky and the franchise which I'm guessing commenced around 1990, a year or so before our monthly lunches commenced.

Of course, any Feedback on these or any other sites are most welcome.

One thing I think I can guarantee - if you worked for CDA in St. Kilda Road (and are not of the Mormon or Amish persuasions), one and probably more of there probably apply to YOU!