On the 14th April 1978, the first secret meeting held between senior representatives of the major computer supplier in Australia was held at the Menzies Hotel in Sydney to discuss the formation of an industry association. Those present at the meeting, thus the original members of what became ACESA (Australian Computer Equipment Suppliers Association) and later the AIIA were Sperry-Univac, IBM, Honeywell, Facom, NCR, Burroughs, Control Data, Sigma Data, AWA, Olivetti, Data General, Digital Equipment, Hewlett-Packard and Interdata.
“So in those days, the Post Master General’s department had been going since the 20s providing the telephone service, but after the 2nd world war, they split the post side from the telegraph side, which became Telecom Australia. Computers really started to come of age in the late 60s – the mini computers in particular. What the problem was, was Telecom Australia had a monopoly of all the communications links between the computers. So anybody that wanted to connect up a computer had to get Telecom to provide all the equipment as well as the lines. This was ridiculous! This meant that companies bought computers and then they had to go to Telecom, who were incredibly unreliable. I got particularly upset about this and said, “no way”. We’re all electronics engineers and very competent – even better than Telecom – so why can’t we sell these things? So that was my rationale for why I met all these other guys, and we had a common purpose.” – Wayne Fitzsimmons, on the reason behind the formation of the association.