Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Ex-CDA comments, suggestions, criticisms

“Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be!”


May - June

We have a limited history of the Miden Pacific operation established by Phillip Michod and Doug Dent after CDC in a bout of "selling the farm" opted to close down Control Data Australia, one of its few remaining profitable operations.

 Previously identified was a Miden franchise based in Mount Martha servicing the Frankston area, but our anonymous respondent of June, 2019 tells us that as of August, 1993, there were three other franchises - Geelong, Latrobe Valley, and Hobart. With perhaps just a hint of his identity, the final note suggested "by this stage,the Franchise Manager had departed Miden Pacific".

Miden Pacific : The Wind-up

Pretty sure no-one will notice, but my "unofficial" ex-CDA site will probably be unavailable for a week or two from 1 August.  My ISP is closing down, thus I need to re-locate a number of sub-sites which attract more attention to a new provider (yet to be selected - all major possibilies appear to be almost double the current cost). will remain as the domain name.

March-April 2019

Not sure whether in the 12 or so years that this “unofficial” CDA site has operated that there has ever been any Feedback from a CDA person - some CDC, but no CDA.

Ron Bird and the late John O’Neil provided much of the information on CDA’s early office in Eton Square at 474-76 St. Kilda Road, but were somewhat coy as to whether any of the doors had an overhead red light - thanks to Feedback from Jenny (surname and email suppressed), we confirm in the affirmative

Topic : 476 St Kilda rd History

Feedback :  Possibly the only surviving sex worker at 476 St Kilda road 1977-1980 Feel free to call me on 0490******.

To maintain perspective, 476 was the southern end of Eton Square while CDA were 474, but some follow-up from Jenny suggests that when she worked the scene, there were 24 red-lights in the complex and up to 60 women available for a gentlemen’s pleasure (or, ahem! perhaps a gentlewomen’s).  

Aaahh! so much choice, so little time …To be fair, this was some ten or so years after CDA moved to 598, but I have to wonder why Jenny was browsing a Control Data Australia site … perhaps to renew acquaintances with a few old (now very old) clients, err! friends???

Not sure whether the red light sign indicates “downstairs”, or perhaps that the gentleman client    may need to “lift his game” to get full value for money!

After the flurry of new material in December and January, little new this month, one new addition to our Daily Life section - TITS at the George Hotel in Fitzroy Street; a handful of new Links, and a new pair of Briefs   

Otherwise  confess I haven’t looked that hard, or maybe did and forgot to record the details … it’s just that  …

January, 2019!

Just when we thought that there was little more to add on our CDA-CDC history, Peter Johnson’s images of December were rapidly (but coincidentally) followed by some Feedback on PLATO supplied by an U.S. contact who at one stage considering a marketing role in Oz, but was deterred by the thought that Australian government users may not have readily accepted an American presence

Aha! Methinks cunningly to myself that some possible inside information might be forthcoming, and after advising Jim that we didn’t really feed American sales reps to the sharks off Bondi Beach ‘cos they were reserved as delicacies for the crocs at Taronga Park Zoo, he supplied some remarkable background, including details of a portable PLATO station and some reminiscences passed on by Professor Donald Bitzer, the key speaker on PLATO at the 1976 Conference.

Digging deeper into Jim’s material led to the astonishing discovery that Donald Bitzer’s wife, Maryanne also made a highly significant contribution to the success of PLATO, both from a technical point of view, but perhaps equally important to the social acceptance of computers at a time when gender stereotypes saw women rarely involved with computers or engineering projects.   Our downloadable PDF covering PLATO has been upgraded in line with the Feedback

* NOTE : Two extra images added to the original Peter’s dozen, 17 December



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

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!

(Rather more than the shell of CDC that Price left in his wake after his $4 million plas payout)

Below : the original American  Research Bureau in Maryland, 1957

ex-CDA free downloads

Little to report, few resources left to explore short of a few of the ‘000’s of CDA employees contributing. (Laugh!).
One interesting Feedback from someone reluctant to reveal him or herself adds a little to our knowledge of Miden Pacific post-CDC’s sell-off of its profitable Oz subsidiary.



Remembered with much admiration

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Remembered with much admiration

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LATEST NEWS : May - June, 2019



(Our “take” on graffiti that Tony Bell remembers appearing on the urinal at CDI, early 1980’s)

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