Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Ex-CDA comments, suggestions, criticisms #top

Priscilla - 3200 Of The Desert











This little piece of nonsense started life at our July, 2013 monthly lunch, prompted by Lyndon Aistrope's casual recollection of seeing a CDC 3200 on the back of a truck somewhere outback in the Northern Territory.

Someone suggested that it was probably part of a hush-hush American research project, but something in the back of my mind clicked and reminded me of seeing a brief article while researching The Australian computer pages that mentioned this truly remarkable "installation".

It wasn't in fact an American mission, it was a joint European missile development project of which Australia was a member on the basis of providing launching facilities at Woomera.

Since the lunch, there have been a few responses, including one from Bruce Smith on a visit from Queemsland who remembers spending two to three weeks at Gove upgrading the machine.

But Bruce's recollections of Gove conflict with some of Ron Bird and Jess Barber's suggesting a site near Broome, - given there is little likelihood of TWO Priscilla's roaming the desert at different times, it seems that it was a cas of “Have Truck, Will Travel”..

The number of upgrades to the 3200 that Bruce mentions also raises some questions as to how and when the ELDO acquired the machine - another article in The Oz about twelve months prior suggests that there had been some sort of embargo on U.S. suppliers selling to France up until that time.

We've grouped the responses into this one section - any further feedback greatly welcome, but I will say that it is one of our pages that has in fact generated some!  Recollections


Her Ultimate Home

Given that Priscilla was never entered in CDA's books, I guess it's a moot point as to whether the story belongs in "our" history, but certainly from the interchanges, a number of old friends worked on the machine at various times.

It is perhaps also a classic example of how a little piece of history can be recreated through the efforts of a network of people for whom Priscilla brought back some memories.

Although never remotely involved with “Priscalla”, I can reveal a little secret as to her ultimate fate.

Between Ourselves in an article in

The same article added:=

"Control Data's first computer in Australia - a 160A for the Post Office in Melbourne delivered in 1962 - is still performing stoutly although it has had a lot more gear added onto it over the years".

RELATED LINKS The Blue Streak Project Talgarno Blue Streak (WIKI)