GP the IT Historian

Most of my career has involved writing about the computer industry. I have been very successful - I edited and founded a few magazines and I was for a few years the leading IT writer in Australia. My star has faded, but I still write plenty about IT and other technologies, and I keep up-to-date with all the trends.

A Vision Splendid

History has always been my passion. It is the broadest of all disciplines, because it encompasses everything that has ever happened. Early in my journalistic career I began to apply the techniques of historiography to my understanding of the IT industry, a novel approach in Australia at the time. I soon established a solid reputation as a historian of the industry. I was founding president of the Australian Computer Museum Society, and my expertise in the area led to my being asked to write the definitive history of the Australian computer industry, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Australian Computer Society. It is called A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.

I worked on the book for a year and it was published in late 2017. Unfortunately there was never a print edition - it is available only as a PDF. I hope to do a second edition to fix some minor faults and to fill in many gaps and errors of omission.

It remains the only definitive history of the industry in Australia. When I was researching it I came across an article about something I was writing about and I thought what a good piece it was. Then I realised that I myself had written it, about ten years earlier. And in that article I said “the history of the industry remains to be written. Perhaps one day I will write it.” And so I did.

I’ve written thousands of articles about various aspects of IT. I had a weekly column in The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age for 12 years, and before that another in The Australian for a few years. I’ve written for all sorts of publications, all around the world, on many subjects in the IT industry.

I’ve also written a couple of corporate histories of Australian computer companies - one for the 40th anniversary of Japanese giant Fujitsu’s presence in Australia and New Zealand, and another for the 30th anniversary of large Australian software company TechnologyOne. Both were substantial books, though not as large as A Vision Splendid.

Below are a few of the more substantial IT history pieces I have written, available for free download.

Mainframe Wars

This is an interesting historical document., covering an area of the industry that deserves to be better known. It's particularly strong on Fujitsu, which never received much attention in the US press. This 100 page report was written for US research company CTR  in 1991.

Time Machine

A long article (9,500 words) on the history of computing for Australian Personal Computer magazine (2003). Strong on the evolution of microcomputers.

A Short History of Software

A 15,000 word chapter I wrote as part of a multi-author book on the global software industry in 2004. In the academic style. with extensive footnotes on sources,

Fujitsu ANZ - The First 40 Years

Corporate history of Japanese computer company Fujitsu in Australia and New Zealand. Fujitsu used Australasia as a test market for the English-speaking world, with some success (2013).

A Vision Splendid:
The History of Australian Computing

by Graeme Philipson

The first ever history of the Australian computer industry. From the Julius tote to the turn of the 21st century, the story of computing in Australia is full of remarkable individuals and outstanding achievements.

Trevor Pearcey's CSIR Mark I (better known as CSIRAC) was only the fourth true electronic computer in the world, developed by a small team far removed from the major research centres in the UK and the USA. The machine is still in existence - though not in working order - and is the oldest computer in the world (The three that preceded it were dismantled years ago).

You can download a PDF of the 270 page book (5.7 Mbytes) from the ACS website.

Download the book

It's free. No registration required.

Vision Splendid Cover