What is your specialty area?
My speciality area started as computing and mathematics, but now extends into other areas of IT. It includes calculation and logic, and computing histories, robotics, human computer interaction, new media, gambling machines and digital records.
How long have you been working at the Museum?
I have been at the museum for 17 and half years which some of my friends (esp non museum) think is very disturbing. Of course by museum standards I’m just a newbie.
What is your favourite object in the collection?
My favourite object is the Tote Model built by George Julius between 1908 and 1912 as a prototype and demonstration for prospective customers of his automatic totalisator. It is a beautiful piece of complex machinery which led to the establishment of an Australian company (Automatic Totalisators Limited) that dominated the international tote industry for 67 years. I am also very fond of idea that Australia’s contribution to the history of computing stems as much from our gambling urges as to our military and scientific endeavours.
What piece of research or exhibition are you most proud of in your career at the Museum?
The Curious Economist: William Stanley Jevons in Sydney is a modest little exhibition that I curated with Lindsay Barrett from University of Western Sydney. The exhibition explores Jevons time in Sydney, his approach to science and the impact influence of his Sydney sojourn on his later work in Economics. Reading Jevons’ letters and journal and looking at his photographs for the first time was one of the highlights of my time here.
NB: You can find out more about Thacher’s calculating machine can be found here.