IN PICTURES: Tech of Yesteryear - Where old computers find their final resting place

Max Burnet has turned his home in the leafy suburbs of Sydney into arguably Australia’s largest private computer museum. Since retiring as director of Digital Equipment Corporation a decade ago, Burnet has converted his interest in the computing industry into an invaluable snapshot of computer history. Every available space from his basement to the top floor of his two-storey home is covered with relics from the past. His collection is vast, from a 1920s Julius Totalisator, the first UNIX PDP-7, a classic DEC PDP-8, the original IBM PC, Apple’s Lisa, MITS Altair 8800, numerous punch cards and over 6000 computer reference books. And more. He happily opened his doors for us to take a look.

  • A variety of early memory technologies

  • A punch card for the Jacquard Loom. The centuries-old Jacquard Loom is the first machine to use punch cards to control a sequence of operations. In this case it is a fleur-de-lys pattern for a Persian rug.

  • A variety of magnetic tape drives from the 1970’s including the famous DECtapes

  • The first Anita electronic calculator cost the same as a Holden car

  • A variety of punch cards

  • A display of silicon chips from 1971 to the present. Intel, Motorola, Zilog etc

  • Before core memory this Ultra-sonic delay line was used for storage

  • Micro-computers including a Spectrum ZX81, Commodore C64, TI99, Apple IIc, and VZ200 – all still working after 27 years

  • The famous Apple Lisa computer from the early 80's

  • Max Burnet standing besides his collection of 6000 computer books

  • More computer art. This time a collection of silicon wafers and core memory. The centre image is 1024 bits of core memory from 1965

  • A DEC VT100 terminal and ASR-33 teletype of 1978. Common work stations for mini-computers

  • Max Burnet standing by his computer art

  • The famous PDP-11/20 console

  • And IBM System 360 print buffer

  • More early Apple machines. This batch sits under a model train set

  • Every Australian insurance company had a Swiss Millionair calculator in the 1920’s

  • An extended shot of the previous slide, this time with the front plate of a DEC PDP-11

  • Burnet’s entrance way to his home is filled with an assortment of machines including the EIA 180, IBM’s 360/30 mainframe and DEC PDP-8/e

  • IBM PS/2 Model 70. Also known as the ‘Lunch Box Portable’ running Windows V3.1

  • The huge CPU module of the ELXSI computer – mid 1980’s

  • A collection of mini computers including the Radio Shack TRS-80, also unfortunately known as the "Trash-80"

  • Australia led the world in the manufacture of racecourse totalisators. This shaft adder was part of the Mechanical Totalisator and built by Australia Automatic Totalisators in the mid 1920s. ATL sold its totes around the world

  • Burnet has a range of computers used to transfer information on magnetic and paper tape to modern format. He says this process can be lengthy because of the variety of early formats. For example, every manufacturer had a different format for their 5 inch floppies

  • Burnet's Computing Art Gallery -- made from boards and circuitry from old machines.

  • The console of the IBM’s 360/30 mainframe of mid 1960’s

  • Max Burnet worked at Digital Equipment Corporation from 1967-1998. His last role was as director of the company's Australia operations

  • The IBM PS2 Model 60 PC of 1987 and the original IBM PC of 1982

  • Silicon chips

  • A classic card punch from the 1960’s

  • The intricate back-plane wiring of a PDP-8/I computer of 1972. Such complexity is now in the silicon chip tracks

  • The famous console of the IBM S/370-145 mainframe of mid 1970’s

  • A patient punch card from a Brisbane hospital. Stewed prunes anyone?

  • The CPU module from a Pr1me mini-computer – early 80’s. It contained 8 Z80 chips

  • Even the mundane power supply from a DECwriter terminal makes an attractive piece of artwork

  • A DEC PDP-8/e

  • Symmetrical heat sinks on this Fujitsu mainframe module – mid 80’s

  • This mini-computer program on paper tape took 15 minutes to load via a Teletype

  • Early modular components allowed for plug-in replacements

  • The first floppy disk was 8 inches in diameter and very “floppy”

  • Information Electronics of Canberra made this IE33 terminal for Ansett Airlines in 1972. It was the reason for all imported terminals paying duty for years and years

  • The Australian made Dulmont Magnum came with a 16-bit Intel 80186 processor. Circa 1984

  • A room full of 1960’s computing artifacts. Dozens of them!

  • The Classic Apple Macintosh

  • The DUNGEON map. Without this map there would be no way to play the game. How game playing has changed!

  • A colourful selection of computer consoles from the 1970’s

  • A working PDP-11 plays ADVENTURE and DUNGEON, the earliest computer games. 16 Megabytes of Fortran and plain text – no graphics. Sitting in a darkened computer room late at night and being told “there are slight rustling noises in the dark behind you” was much more hair raising than today’s garish graphics

  • The famous Commodore C64 Micro-computer

  • An assortment of old computers used for media conversion

  • A time line of valves to silicon chips

  • A bunch of punch cards

  • The Altair 8800 on which Bill Gates ran his first BASIC compiler. World’s first Micro-computer

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