My interest in computer started in my final years of high school and I applied for an electronic apprentices training position with the Royal Australian Navy. My first computer based training was Digital studies, learning the workings of how ones and Zero’s transform from on and off switches into numbers and them words. Machine code programming via lights and switches was to follow. The first computer that I worked on after my training was a 177 170sonar and mark 10 mortars targeting mechanical computer. This beast used mechanical parts to work out range and bearing to a target and then work out a firing solution for the mortar system it would then move the firing tubes into correct position before firing the units.

The first ever personnel computer that I used was a Tandy TRS80 in the very early 80’s this was closely followed by a Microbee I loved that computer for many years and was very sad, when it was finally beyond repair in the late 90’s After many good years of programming and experiential modifications. These were the days of basic programming and single colour displays, that is right you may have green on black or orange on black or white on black with 8 or 16 bit gray scale shading. 16KB of RAM was a dream and built in hard drives were many years in the future. Most programs were loaded from tape into RAM for execution.

Over the following years, I was trained and worked on AN-UYK7 computers with Magnetic Core memories and the AN-UYK20
when the submarine upgrade program moved into the new SFCS system we trained on the New sperry univac 1600 MPU.

UYK7 processor

AN-UYK7 computer system

UYK20 processor


AN-UYK 20 Computer system

Open UYK20



AN-UYK 20 Computer system with door open

The Navy was starting to require new computer systems for the more mundane requirements like word processing. Wang computer system with removable Winchester drives were the best available for there time and we used and maintained several systems over the years.

From these early days I progressed through the different staged of the DOS Operating system Dos 3 being the earliest until 6.2 and I used windows 3.1 and every windows operating system until Windows 7 including all the server packages.

In 1992 I moved to Adelaide to be part of the new submarine construction project as the Electrical Officer Assessing for stores This is a large title for the person who controls what store are carried on the submarine, for the next 3 years we used Apple computers system and Unix mainframes.

Currently the earliest computer that we still have running is a 286 Toshiba luggable PC, Orange on Black display running Dos 5. We have 2 spark 10 Unix beasts from the Auctions, and a server 2000 system running on a p2 processor 1 GB video Card and a 1TB Hard drive running windows 7 pro.

Below are some images of the progression of the hard drive as they went from the hand produced first units to mass producded common items that we currently see.

Drum hard drive
open drum hard drive
upright disk stack
open hard drive