Angle Park Computing Centre

I was introduced to computers in 1976 via a computing program offered by the South Australian Education Department. At that time they had a world leading program in computer education, a facility known as the "Angle Park Computing Centre", located at Angle Park High School, and founded and managed by a visionary man, Ian Appleton.

Ian ran an installation which, in 1976 comprised two IBM Model 1130 computers, and was later upgraded to an IBM Model 370. Every secondary school, and thus every secondary school student, in South Australia had access to those computers, with most people sending OMR cards (similar to punch cards, but you marked them with a dark black pencil) by courier and receiving their printouts about a week later. Slow, but very effective, and the delay meant that you thought about what you were doing!

Some students would go to Angle Park to sit at the computer and use it. So much faster! In fact there was a club, "PSI" (Program Students Incorporated), which met at Angle Park, once a month on a Sunday. I have no idea whether the staff at Angle Park were paid for opening and running the centre for us; I could easily believe they did it for free.

Once a year, during the summer school holidays, a conference cum workshop (the "summer school in computing") was held at Angle Park. Students (and teachers) would come from all over the world, and many eminent computing practitioners would come and lecture, present seminars, and teach! There was nothing unusual about mixing with students from far away places like Canada or Sweden, nor about talking shop to senior researchers from IBM's Thomas Watson Research Labs. There was a reason why the program at Angle Park was world-leading!

Unfortunately Ian was hospitalised for an extended period, and while he was on sick-leave the major policies of Angle Park were changed. First PSI was cancelled. Then students were precluded from the summer schools. Finally the installation was closed. Thus ended an era.

The staff at Angle Park were just wonderful and I am so grateful to them for being part of making me who I am today. I'd particularly like to thank Ian, Pat ("Dragon Lady") and Alan. Without them Angle Park would never have been what it once was, and in all probability I'd be working on a motor assembly line.
Copyright © 1997, David Newall.