Community Organisations

Community Computing

President MICOM (MicroComputer Society of Melbourne) in the early 1980s

     -     Major contributions included: the first Bulletin Board in the Southern Hemisphere was set up on my watch: as were regular lectures on computing (from Prolog Compilers to Logical design.. attended by many CSIRO Principal Scientists and University staff-- as there were no computing courses then available where any of this was then taught- a true community led educational process)

- the first proposal appraised [and accepted] by VEDC (on variable architecture microcode computer systems) was written by myself for Philip Frieden, the project creator for the AFC3200. It was set using the first variable font printers (Sanders Media) and looked (for the time) very good indeed. The AFC3200 design was later a basis for the next generation bit slice architecture chips designed by Phillip for AMD in California after he joined them. VEDC wanted us to take $0.75m as a loan and in be in production inside a year. We walked away. All we wanted was a small grant for a logic state analyser as we had the rest set up to move progressively....Phillip soon moved to AMD - hired by telephone- to design the next generation of bitslice chips...

The marketing plan I had ready was to register a Nevada based company, and place an order on it for an AFC3200 with the full specifications.. which in those days of CoCom defence export bans, would undoubtedly have been refused-- then to send a message “apologising”, ‘the order was intended for the Nevada based company to secure one from Australia’.. this marketing strategy was later checked with a top IDG Director, who confirmed that if this occurred (in 1984-5) we would have got worldwide front page in ComputerWorld.. sadly it was not needed..

Founding Member ACMS (Australian Computer Museum Society) in the early 1990s

     -     Major contribution: Helping to catalyze the bringing of CSIRAC back into a full and fully recognised major item of Australian history and contributed both a paper and a 1981 quad processor (Pascal MicroEngine+Z80+T11+9511) S-100 system to the displays  to the 1996 two days of Celebration of CSIRC’s 40th Anniversary at Melbourne University, which included the inauguration of the Victorian Brach of the ACMS, of which I was the initial President... See also:

     -      WIGAN, M. R. (2000) The role of multidisciplinary voluntary organisations in modern industrial and socio-technical history. IN MCCANN, D. & THORNE, P. (Eds.) The last of the first: CSIRAC Australia's first computer. University of Melbourne, Department of Computer Science: University of Melbourne.


Australian Motorcycle News (AMCN)

- Technical Editor and contributor

Autocycle Union UK

- International Motorcycle Racing Licence Holder

- 11th Place in the 125cc World Championship round at Silverstone in 1975

Autocycle Union of Victoria Executive Councillor and Hartwell Club Representative

     -     Major contribution: layout design and initiation of the construction of the Broadford track (now the core part of the Victorian State Motorcycle Centre) Awarded a Bitumen for Broadford Medal for this successful effort.This medal was finally located and handed over in 2014 - over 30 years later!

Autocycle Union of Australia Technical Advisor

Motorcycle Sport

- Journalist for this monthly magazine (sibling of Motor Sport at the time) for 25 years, nom de plume MRW

Southern Sixty Seven Motorcycle Racing Club UK

Founding Member, 250cc Production Club Champion and 350cc Club Champion

TT Riders Association (TTRA)

- Finished 53rd in the first International 10 lap Production TT in the Isle of Man, riding for Bennetts of Barnsley with Col Porter as lead rider. Col crashed on the first lap at Quarter Bridge, and we still finished with the twisted forks that this incurred. Interesting, bouncing from kerb to kerb at up to 135M/hr ( , I can still remember it very well. We went on to ride together for Bennetts at the Thruxton 400...and Col, the better rider, managed a 19th in a later TT.


(examples only for any antique readers’  entertainment)

Hertford College Oxford Boat Club

     -     Crew member of the College First VIII and Torpid, rowing at Six, and won my oar with the Hertford Schools VII at Bow in the following year. This links to a Brideshead revisited style picture (showing the windows of the Charles’ ‘college room’ that were actually used in the TV series), taken just after the 1962 HCBC Dinner.

My physics tutor, Professor Neil Tanner, became a strong advocate of the HCBC after his retirement, and on his death I donated an Australian aboriginal painting from Utopia region near Alice springs in his memory, and carried it from Australia to Hertford. It now hangs in the Graduate Accommodation block. The picture linked <here> is of his daughter and the painting on the wall of the College Chapel during the memorial service in May 2009, after which a new VIII was launched <Movie>, named after him.

Oxford University Business Study Group

- Joint Founder of this first formal business and management group at Oxford. run as a formal group with major speakers,and specialised intensive one week courses we organised for ourselves (for example, I organised and ran one on computing applications in 1965 with IBM sponsorship and supply of lecturers and instructors)

Oxford University Jazz Club

     -     as committee member organised the first really large scale event for several thousand people (the entire Johnny Dankworth Big Band and support), which subsequently became the model for future years and assured the clubs future...(for the full and funny story, that does not reflect well on the Oxford University Proctors of the day, who then had to act as quasi police, contact me).

Oxford University Society for Psychical Research Links (Roll)(&),(Blackmore)(&)

     -     Treasurer: helped to organise the 7th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, held at Christ Church College Oxford in 1964 [See Picture of the attendees: I am 6th from the left at the back Steve Abrams** is on the front row on the far right), and participated in formal and formally evaluated experiments (by Professor Hansel of Manchester University, where it took him two solid weeks to unravel the subtle cues that had been causing the involuntary communication between the experimental participants, partly as hypnosis had been used to control some of the factors) as part of Steve Abrams’ DPhil parapsychology research program at Oxford, which had had some support from the CIA (see Kress, 1977): a longer explanation of these links is given in an anonymous obituary. This area has attracted skeptical (and less skeptical) attention for many years, and still to a minor degree still does. There are still ex members of the OUSPR around who have long since left this area of interest to build distinguished careers (Scriven, Blackmore, Roll etc)...The experiments were fun, and were subject to a week long close validation inspection by Professor Mark Hansen of Manchester University, who (sadly) found the subliminal cuing mechanism that sufficed to remove the need for a ESP interpretation of the otherwise excellent results...much to Steve Abrams disappointment... but we all had a lot of fun at the time (early 1960s).

     -     * Steve died 21 November 2012: active, intelligent, colourful and thought provoking to the end, and massively under recognised in the Oxford Today Obituary, which (probably predictably) focussed only on his pioneering marijuana legalisation efforts in stead of his CIA and Russian work associated with his ParaPsychology DPhil work.....other sources include a YouTube.

Oxford University Modern Jazz Club

     -     as Treasurer organised the first ‘Modern Jazz and Classical Fusion’ talk by John Dankworth just as he switched from the Big Band style.. and he covered for me by not indicating to this slightly purist group that I had just presented him with a very large cheque in his previous Big Band capacity (see above)). The meetings took place in the Wheatsheaf Inn, the High.

Oxford University Speculative Fiction Group

     -     The First President, and Joint Founder with Chris Miller Ch Ch, Tony Miles BNC and Peter Winchurch Ch Ch in 1961. OUSFG is still active in 2015

Oxford Ixion Motorcycle Club

- Served on the Club Committee in the mid 1960s, and I owe a special vote of thanks to one of the members who was a printer and bound and blocked bound my Doctoral thesis in a tight 4 hour window on a  Saturday morning on 30-9-1967...(see First Word Processed Thesis)

RAFVR: Oxford University Air Squadron

- The first postgraduate married Officer Cadet of the Squadron. Discharged after three years with Aerobatic and Night Flying Ratings and the annotation ‘Wigan, of exemplary conduct maintained a low average standard of flying throughout’. Having safely received my discharge, I then advised the Wing Commander that I had worked through 3-4 days of 24 hours shifts on the synchrocyclotron at Harwell and had driven my motorcycle the 40 miles to Bicester to do my flying.. and then gone home the 20 miles to Oxford to sleep...and repeat the cycle. I was then advised that I ‘had a future in the RAF if I wanted one....”. Fine man.

- Spent two years as ViceChair of Electronic Frontiers Australia, working on better strategy ad engagement, complemented by professional refereed journal publishing in Privacy, Surveillance and Identity as my other contribution to civil society in this space..

- Spent two years on the Board of this active and very well managed NGO, funded by a levy on Telcos- and, perhaps surprisingly, advocated for in its continuation by these same telcos. It is the Peak body for telecommunications consumers

Updated  18 January 2016