Another major factor in my decision to expand the Documentaries content is that I am stunned by how many “Things” have been invented here in Australia!There are so many incredible innovations in the field of Electronics & Computing that to not include them would be a major mistake. To name just a few items, I have compiled a simplified list:
1877 – Louis Brennan patents a wire-guided and wire-driven torpedo for harbour defences.
1878/79 – Henry Sutton of Ballarat invents the carbon filament lamp 16 days after Edison demonstrates his!
1885 – the Telephane – precursor to television is invented by Henry Sutton of Ballarat!
1889 – Arthur James Arnot invents the Electric Drill in Melbourne and Patents it.
1890 – Professor Richard Threlfall of Sydney University is the first person in the world to suggest publicly (at a meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science) that ‘Hertzian waves’ might be used for Telegraphy — Which would be commonly known as Radio!
1926 – The first Cardiac Pacemaker in the world is used to revive a new-born baby!
1929 – Alfred Traeger develops the first pedal wireless transceiver for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
1932 – George Julius invents a Totalisator with an automatic odds-calculating device.
1934 – The first Car Radio is fitted to a car made by Kelly’s Motors in NSW.
1939 – Degaussing of Ships to help protect them from magnetic mines was patented by Frankin Barnes of Scoresby Victoria.
1947 – A team at CSIR (the fore-runner of the CSIRO) built CSIRAC, the world’s fifth computer, and the first to play ‘computer music’.
1950 – The Flying Doctor’s radio service is adapted to operate the School of the Air.
1952 – Alan Walsh (CSIRO) develops the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer.
1958 – David Warren develops the prototype of the Black Box flight recorder.
1961 – Ultrasound – David Robinson and George Kossoff’s work at the Australian Department of Health, resulted in the first commercially practical water path ultrasonic scanner.
1975 – Interscan – An aircraft approach and landing guidance system using microwaves was successfully tested at Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne.
1976 – Electronic Ignition System. A silicon-chip ignition system for small engines in lawnmowers and chainsaws was developed by the Notarus brothers in Sydney.
1978 – The first Bionic Ear was fitted to an Australian patient.
1979 – Geoff Healey invents the Race-Cam.
1981 – The Earth Leakage Circuit breaker is developed in Adelaide by Gerard Industries.
1993 – Australia invents the first Underwater Computer – Bruce Macdonald at the Australian Institute of Marine Science developed the world’s first underwater computer with a multi-button hand-held keypad that mimics a conventional keyboard.
1997 – Neil H. E. Weste and David Skellern were the first to invent WiFi – they invented the first 802.11a chip.
1998 – The Aurora solar car achieves a world record speed of 100.9 km per hour over one hour, running on commercial solar cells and lead-acid batteries
So to be able to tell the “History” of an Industry and how it shaped todays industry, is vitally important I feel. The Documentary will be split into three sections now. Episode 1 will deal with the early days, and is essentially a recount of important innovations in Australia from 1854 (the first telegraph pole) through to the (US) Invention of the Transistor in 1947. Episode 2 will be the start of the “Current” doco which deals with the early experiences from Dick Smith, Owen Hill, Leo Simpson, Andy Gelme and anybody involved in electronics before 1982. Although the PC was introduced really in 1975-77 (Sphere1, Apple, Commodore PET & others) it isn’t really until many of the “Micro Computers” are commercialised (IBM, Microbee, TRS80, other Z80 based Computers) in 1981/82. So Episode 2 ends with the introduction of the PC in 1982 in Australia, with the first Australian designed & manufactured PC the Microbee. Episode 3 takes us through from 1982 until the present day. It’s a huge task I have set myself but one that I’m keen to see to the end. If you think you may be able to help with the Documentary, please feel free to contact me through this website.
Another thing I should mention is the extraordinary response my initial trailer has had. It’s been linked on so many Blog sites, referred on Twitter and Facebook. There are many comments on Youtube, Vimeo, the EEVBlog and many, many more which have been very encouraging. Thank you to all. Just yesterday it was spoken about on the Amp Hour Podcast Episode16 (a podcast for electronic enthusiast & engineers). If you don’t know the Amp Hour and you are interested in Electronics I highly recommend it. David L Jones, who appears in my Doco co-hosts with Chris Gammell – Check it out!
Until the next update – Enjoy!