TECHNOLOGY IS A SOUTH AUSTRALIAN TRADITION. Its 21st Century ambitions in areas such as driverless cars and photonics or making Adelaide a smart city are the more public face of the high technological background hum from state's defence industry work started in the 1950s with the weapons research establishment at Salisbury.
The technological bent in South Australia goes back to the dire need for agriculture inventions such as John Ridley’s wheat reaper in the 1840s, followed by the Smith brothers’ stump jump plough.
But South Australia’s major technological engineering triumph over other colonies in the 19th Century was the overland telegraph project, linking Adelaide and Darwin (and via Java to Europe).
By 1859, Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania and Adelaide had telegraph connections. But the Australian colonies needed to join up with the undersea cable link between England and Batavia (Jakarta).
The colonies competed fiercely over the route for that link. The Victorian government’s fatal Burke and Wills expedition had that link in mind. The South Australian government, seeing the benefits of being the centre of the telegraph network, offered £2000 for an expedition to find a route to Australia’s north coast.
Sponsored by wealthy pastoralist James Chambers, John McDouall Stuart, in 1862, successfully, in his sixth attempt, crossed the continent from the Flinders Ranges. He marked out a telegraph line route.
South Australian governor Richard MacDonnell strongly supported the project, which had its land secured when an order from London in 1863 transferred the Northern Territory to South Australia.
When the South Australia Parliament in 1865 authorised a telegraph line between Adelaide and Port Augusta, it outraged Queensland advocates of the Darwin–Burketown telegraph route. The final contract was secured in 1870 when South Australia agreed to construct 3200km of line to Darwin if the British-Australian Telegraph Co. would link Java to Darwin.
The Adelaide-Darwin project overcame huge setbacks to be completed in 1872. South Australia was blessed to have, as head of the project, its superintendent of telegraphs Charles Todd. The input of Todd and his son-in-law, future Nobel physics prize winner William Bragg, continued South Australia's technological vision.
JOHN RIDLEY'S REAPER LEADS AGRICULTURAL (AND OTHER) TECHNOLOGY BREAKTHROUGHS
The early challenges of farming in South Australian conditions generated an impressive batch of mechanical inventions. The first significant innovation was a response to the emergency of not having enough labour to harvest the colony’s wheat in the early 1840s. In 1843 at Hindmarsh, flour miller (and preacher) John Ridley developed a mechanised reaping machine – The Stripper – that, by 1857, harvesting 50% of its wheat. Although Ridley won the prize offered by Agricultural and Horticultural Society, others credit Mount Barker farmer John Wrathall Bull as the inventor of what has been claimed as a world first. In 1876, Richard Bowyer Smith and his brother Clarence on the Yorke Peninsula invented a stump-jump plough that could cope with the problem of mallee stumps on paddocks. James Winchester Stott from Alma in the mid north is credited with a similar invention in 1877, plus a cultivator, slasher, scarifier and double-furrow plough. The first man to make winnowers in Adelaide was John Stokes Bagshaw who set up a workshop in 1838. He became famous for his farm tools, especially his hand-operated winnowers. Writer, preacher and inventor David Unaipon, born at Point McLeay Aboriginal mission, is credited with creating the first straight line motion shearing machine. In 1909, he developed and patented the handpiece that became the standard in woolsheds across the country. Alf Hannaford of Riverton, in 1915, made the first wheat machine that wet pickled seed wheat with copper sulphate to protect against a fungus disease called bunt. He later changed the machine to enable dry pickling of wheat against smut.
Turning research into technology is ongoing leading hallmark of South Australian agriculture. Roseworthy, Australia’s first agricultural college from 1883, was set up by the government as a model farm for research applied as technology. After declining soil fertility and drought, research included developing fertilisers in dryland cropping and breeding wheat varieties. The college was a forerunner to a government department of agriculture that became closely involved in applied research through the South Australian Research and Development Institute. Now part of Adelaide University, Roseworthy campus is a major player in several cooperative research centres (including pork, poultry, beer, sheep and bio remediation). Australian Grain Technologies, one of the largest cereal breeding company in Australia and the world, has made Roseworthy the centre of its national operations. Adelaide University’s Waite campus has the largest concentration of plant science research in the southern hemisphere. The Waite is Australia’s leading site for grain, soil and wine research. Its community has 12 research organisations, centres and nodes, with about 1,500 scientists, technicians, teachers, support staff and students in agriculture, food, wine, natural resource sciences and agricultural economics. More than 50% of barley grown in Australia originates from the Waite campus. Its program generates and evaluates about 25,000 potential new varieties every year. But only about one will be commercially viable after 10 years of developing.
David Beveridge Adamson brought technical ability and scientific curiosity to early Adelaide: an important part of a small group influencing the city’s social and intellectual life in its pre-university days. Adamson arrived with his family from Scotland in 1839. He was a carpenter and wheelwright, along with father James and brother Adam. They set up a business making agricultural implements in Adelaide in 1840. This became Adamson Brothers (James Beveridge and John Hazel were partners) in the 1850s, with branches in Kapunda, Auburn and Laura. Their wheat harvesters and strippers (based on John Ridley’s invention) won a high reputation for quality. The mainly self-educated David Adamson had an insatiable interest in science and mechanics. He built furniture and musical instruments, claiming (in 1876) to have made the colony’s first violin in 1841. He designed and built a valuable collection of scientific instruments, mechanical appliances and toys used in his public lectures and demonstrations. He ardently studied astronomy, assembling a Gregorian and a Newtonian telescope, an orrery (made about 1870, held by the Royal Astronomical Society of South Australia) and a Foucault's gyroscope. He was fellow of the Philosophical Society (later Royal Society) of South Australia from 1867. A founder of Chalmers Church, Adamson supported societies such as the YMCA, sharing his parents’ and siblings’ strong commitment to church and community. Adamson also promoted bodies such as the chamber of manufactures and the destitute board.
The first straight-line motion shearing machine, invented in 1909, is featured on the $50 Australian note tribute to David Unaipon. He developed and patented (provisional patent 15 624) the handpiece that became the standard in woolsheds across the country. It converted curvilineal motion into the straight-line movement that's the basis of modern shears. It was introduced without Unaipon receiving financial return and, apart from a 1910 newspaper report naming him as inventor, he received no credit. Unaipon has been called the Australian Leonard da Vinci for his mechanical ideas. These included pre-World War I drawings for a helicopter design, based on the boomerang, and his research into the polarisation of light. Unaipon took out provisional patents for 19 inventions between 1909 and 1944 but couldn't afford to get any fully patented. Other inventions included a centrifugal motor, a multi-radial wheel and a mechanical propulsion device. Unaipon was a recognised authority on ballistics. Unaipon was born at Raukkan (Point McLeay) Mission in 1872. Educated at the mission school and in Adelaide, Unaipon was interested in science but also became known as a writer, musician, preacher and spokesman for Aboriginal people. Unaipon was the first Aboriginal writer to publish in English, with many articles on Aboriginal rights and Legendary Tales of Australian Aborigines eventually published under his name. In his nineties, Unaipon returned to Raukkan where he continued working on inventions, convinced he was close to discovering the secret of a perpetual motion machine.
19th CENTURY SOUTH AUSTRALIA BLESSED BY SERENDIPITOUS LINKING OF INTELLECTUAL GIANTS
Charles Todd became a technological and engineering hero of the 1870s when he oversaw the epic Adelaide-Darwin telegraph project. Todd came to Adelaide in 1855 with a background at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. His maths was used to help determine the longitude between Greenwich and Cambridge University observatories by telegraphic means. Todd became fascinated with telecommunications while working with Electric Telegraph Co., and with C. V. Walker, electrical engineer to the South Eastern Railway, a pioneer of submarine cables. Britain’s astronomer royal George Airy nominated Todd as South Australia’s superintendent of telegraphs – a role extending to government astronomer, postmaster general and meteorologist. In 1856, a year after he arrived in Adelaide, Todd’s enthusiasm for telegraphs saw the first government link between Adelaide and Port Adelaide, followed by a line to Port Augusta (1865). Todd worked with Victorian telegraphs superintendent Samuel McGowan to link Adelaide and Melbourne by telegraph. In 1870, South Australian premier Henry Bull Strangways decided, independent of other colonies, to build a telegraph line from Port Augusta to Darwin, if the British-Australian Telegraph Co. would lay a submarine cable from Darwin to Java, enabling a link to England. Todd headed the project. Todd’s organisation major obstacles to finish the Adelaide-Darwin 3,178km line within two years by 1872. Todd was later honoured as fellow of the Royal Society, Royal Astronomical Society, Royal Meteorological Society and Society of Electrical Engineers.
Adelaide Observatory, built between 1860 and 1873 for Charles Todd, as South Australia’s superintendent of telegraphs, postmaster general and meteorologist, reflected his most beloved task as government astronomer. Adelaide Observatory complex, including the Todd family home and weather recording equipment, was next to West Terrace between Currie and Waymouth streets in the city parklands. It had a tower with tripartite blind windows and transit room, a domed equatorial room, refracting and transit telescopes, a time service and a seismograph. This enabled Todd to do geodetic surveys and watch comets and planetary satellites. He closely observed Venus in 1874 and in 1882 when he set up a temporary station at Wentworth, NSW, to get better results. Todd’s notes on Jupiter’s satellites were published in the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society .Todd’s love of astronomy (he also designed Western Australia’s observatory) drove his enthusiasm for an Australia-wide telegraph network to set up observation stations that gave the continent its first weather information. Adelaide Observatory became hub for meteorological stations reporting daily, using the telegraph system. Todd’s meteorological system spread to all colonies and New Zealand. When Todd retired, there were 510 rainfall stations in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Adelaide Observatory was joined by the Commonwealth Weather Bureau building in 1941. But the complex was demolished by 1952 to make way for the Adelaide Boys High School. Its weather bureau role was transferred to Kent Town.
Adelaide General Post Office opened in 1872 and became, on October 22, the place that received the first Morse-code telegraph message to Australia from overseas. This message arrived in Australia via an undersea cable from Indonesia, came ashore at Port Darwin and then down the 3178km line to Adelaide that had been completed in less than two years in 1872. The Adelaide-Darwin line project had been directed by Charles Todd who, as South Australian postmaster general, had major input into the new General Port Office, with its grand postal hall, on the corner of King William and Franklin streets, the colony’s most expensive structure so far at £55,000. Todd specified the shape of the GPO’s Victoria tower with bells, copied from Westminster Abbey, chiming on the quarter hour. The telegraph line from Darwin gave Adelaide the monopoly on receiving news from overseas for Australia for the next 30 years. News gathering in Adelaide had become highly competitive by the mid 19th Century, with two daily morning titles competing for readers. Before the telegraph line, reporters had been sent to Port Adelaide to travel out with the pilots to board ships newly arrived from London and obtain the latest overseas news. In 1858, the telegraph line completed between Melbourne and Adelaide – via Willunga, Goolwa, Robe and Mount Gambier – enabled Adelaide reporters to send news direct to Melbourne, as well as receive interstate news. An evening newspaper, the Telegraph, was founded to mark this development.
With telecommunications enthusiast Charles Todd as postmaster general, South Australia was an early adopter of telephone technology with its first exchange operating at the General Post Office building by 1883. This was seven years after Alexander Graham Bell had invented to telephone. Adelaide’s first telephone exchange opened with 27 subscribers. This grew to a few hundred within three years. After Australian colonies federated in 1901, the state post and telegraph departments became part of the Commonwealth Postmaster General’s Department (PMG) and the phone service expanded rapidly. Adelaide’s bigger purpose-built Central Telephone Exchange opened in Franklin Street behind the General Post Office in 1908. Charles Todd, who arrived in South Australia in 1855, was an early proponent for Adelaide to have electric street lighting. The first public electricity in England in 1882 prompted a private member’s bill in the colonial parliament to create the South Australian Electric Company. In 1891-92, Adelaide City Council considered street “electric lighting” one of its most important questions. But electricity for Adelaide was blocked for more than a decade by opponents, mainly shareholders in the South Australian Gas Company. It wasn’t until 1895 that South Australian Electric Light and Motive Power Company began supplying power to Port Adelaide from its Nile Street generator in 1899. In 1900, Adelaide got its electricity from a temporary generator in Tam O’Shanter Place and, in 1901, a coal-fired powerhouse in Grenfell Street opened, supplying North Adelaide by 1902.
On his first day in South Australia in 1886, William Bragg met Charles Todd, government astronomer, postmaster general and superintendent of telegraphs – and father-in-law to be, at the Todd family’s home within the Adelaide Observatory. buildings complex in the city’s west parklands. This meeting between Todd, who’d guided the epic Adelaide-Darwin telegraph line project to its finish in 1872, and Bragg, the new 23-year-old Adelaide University Elder professor of mathematics and experimental physics – and a future Nobel physics winner – was momentous in itself. It would turn into a close alliance on several levels. Firstly, Bragg married Gwendoline, one of Todd’s four daughters, in 1889. Their elder son, (William) Lawrence, would share the Nobel Prize in physics with his father in 1915. Lawrence had the advantage of a boyhood stimulated by his regular visits to his grandfather’s observatory complex. Charles Todd and William Bragg also developed a deep intellectual alliance that would fuse science and technology. This fusion would benefit their own work but have lasting effects on Adelaide. For example, William Bragg first met Charles Todd’s sons Charles Edward and Hedley Lawrence when they were starting medical and business careers. In later years, Charles would consult Bragg on the medical use of the new X rays and Hedley would seek Bragg's advice on the electrification of the city.
Charles Todd and William Bragg were closely involved with the Adelaide International Jubilee Exhibition of 1887, the longest-running spectacle in South Australia’s history, showcasing the latest in technology. The exhibition, celebrating South Australia’s 50th anniversary and the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign, opened in June 1887 and closed in January 1888. The Exhibition Building was added to the public buildings on North Terrace, Adelaide, to house the event. Charles Todd, South Australia’s postmaster general and superintendent of telegraphs, led Jury XV at the exhibition that judged precision instruments and apparatus for physical research, chronometric apparatus, and optical and thermotic devices. Future Nobel laureate and Adelaide University’s mathematics and physics professor, Bragg also was on that jury and the exhibition’s education and science sectional committee. At the opening of the exhibition by governor William Robinson, Todd, as superintendent of telegraphs and head of the Adelaide-Darwin telegraph line project, was handed a telegram message to be transmitted immediately to Queen Victoria describing the “brilliant assembly of Her Majesty’s loving subjects". Bragg received a bronze medal for services to the exhibition. His close link with the Exhibition Building continued on the board of the School of Mines and Industries that conducted classes there. Over six months, the jubilee exhibition attracted 619,414 visitors. Britain, German and Austria/Hungary were among international exhibits.
X rays, central to William and Lawrence Braggs’ joint claim to the Nobel Prize for physics in 1915, played their part in a domestic drama at the family’s North Adelaide home in 1896. The reaction to the incident was part of Adelaide’s willingness to adopt X rays and other new technologies for medical use. Six-year-old Lawrence Bragg was riding his tricycle at home in 1896 when his younger brother Bob jumped on from behind and both fell on Lawrence’s left elbow. Lawrence was taken to his father William’s Adelaide University laboratory where the elbow was Xrayed with apparatus still in its infancy. X rays had only been discovered in the previous year by Wilhelm Röntgen in Germany. Lawrence’s left elbow was shown to be shattered .Family friend and doctor Alfred Lendon thought the arm should be allowed to set stiff but Dr Charlie Todd, Lawrence’s uncle and a son of postmaster general Charles Todd, decided that, every few days, Lawrence was put under ether and his arm flexed to form a new joint. The treatment was largely successful. Also in June, 1896, as part of his demonstrations, William Bragg had his hand photographed in X ray by his Adelaide University apparatus maker Arthur Rogers. The (later Royal) Adelaide Hospital was at the forefront of adopting new medical technology. In 1899, four years after X rays were discovered, the hospital opened an X-ray theatre. The hospital installed its first telephone system in 1901, performed its first blood transfusion in 1925, and conducted its first bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor in 1995.
Adelaide postmaster general Charles Todd helped his son-in law, Adelaide University mathematics and physics professor and future Nobel Prize winner William Bragg with his demonstration of X rays in Adelaide in 1896. The demonstration was part of Bragg's academic interest shifting to physics and particularly electromagnetism. Early in 1895, Wilhelm Röntgen in Germany discovered X rays. Bragg responded, with his skilful assistant Arthur Rogers, by trying to produce the new radiation by making a suitable glass tube for X-ray experiments. But trials with the tube weren’t successful. Bragg was able to pursue an alternative by borrowing a suitable high-voltage induction coil from the department of Charles Todd. In 1896, Samuel Barbour, a chemist employed by pharmaceutical firm F.H. Faulding & Co., returned to Adelaide from Europe with one of the new glass discharge (Crookes) tube tubes. But Barbour lacked a suitable voltage source. The two groups pooled their resources for the demonstration when the tube was attached to Todd’s induction coil and a battery. The induction coil produced the electric spark for Bragg and Barbour to “generate short bursts of X rays”. Demonstrations were given by Bragg and Barbour to show the use of “X-rays to reveal structures that were otherwise invisible”. William Bragg had become an accomplished and popular extension lecturer and, when he gave a public demonstration of the new X rays in the university library, an overﬂow crowd was turned away. Bragg repeated the lecture in a larger hall days later.
William Bragg and Charles Todd were involved in sending one of Australia’s first radio signals in Adelaide in 1899. These were Morse code messages, including one over eight kilometres from the Charles Todd’s Adelaide Observatory wireless hut on West Terrace, Adelaide, to the Bragg family’s hut at Henley Beach. Bragg had been diverted into the possibilities of radio or “wireless telegraphy” by his father-in-law Charles Todd, who, as South Australia’s postmaster general and superintendent of telegraph, was irritated by the rupture of an underwater communications cable linking the Althorpe Island lighthouse, off Yorke Peninsula, with the mainland at Cape Spencer. Todd asked Bragg to look into wireless telegraphy. While on study leave in England in 1898, Bragg met with Guglielmo Marconi and discussed his experiments with Hertzian radio waves. Returning to Adelaide in 1899 and, working with Todd, Bragg started his own research on wireless telegraphy. Adelaide University instrument maker Arthur Rogers made the Marconi apparatus that enabled the Morse messages that Todd sent from the Adelaide Observatory and were returned by Bragg at Henley Beach. Todd planned to try radio transmissions over water but he didn’t have time for the project. Nor could he get from England the apparatus he needed, and the cost of a lighthouse link was too high because skilled operators were needed. In 1899, Bragg gave lectures on “wireless telegraphy” to overﬂow audiences. His work in this area was abandoned in 1900 when Bragg widened his experience of experimental physics.
Future Nobel laureate and Adelaide University professor of mathematics and experimental physics, William Bragg showed his tact and breadth of vision by being, uniquely, a member of the disputing councils of both Adelaide University and the School of Mines and Industries. The school of mines grew out of the many mechanics’ institutes providing early elementary technical education in South Australia. By the 1880s, a drought and agricultural decline and the need to develop mining and industry heightened the demand for technology study centre. Without public secondary education, a big gap grew between education at primary schools and the university. The Tom Playford II government set up the School of Mines and Industries in 1888. The famous Charles Todd – William Bragg's father in law – was an early nominee for the school’s council president but withdrew in favour of John Langdon Bonython. In 1890, Adelaide University nominated William Bragg for a vacancy on the School of Mines council. Bragg remained a valued member until he left Australia in 1909. From the start, School of Mines’ students attended physics, electrical engineering and other classes at the university but were often hampered by a lack of basic knowledge. Preparatory courses were introduced. Bragg believed in a broad general education for the community but also in the intellectual primacy of the university. He agreed to requests from the School of Mines for the university to provide engineering courses, with invaluable input from Robert Chapman, although university staff and resources were exceptionally low.
As with his father-in-law Charles Todd, Adelaide University's mathematics and physics professor and future Nobel Prize winner William Bragg promoted electrical technology in Adelaide. Todd, as South Australia's postmaster general and director of the Adelaide-Darwin telegraph line project, had urged that Adelaide use electricity long before it was seriously discussed in the 1880s. In 1900, the new School of Mines and Industries asked Adelaide University to help reorganise its electrical engineering course. William Bragg had a shortage of staff, funds and equipment but he suggested weekly evening classes that began in 1891. Students petitioned for an advanced course in 1894. A brilliant undergraduate from Sydney University, John Madsen arrived at Adelaide University in 1901 as assistant lecturer in mathematics and demonstrator in physics. During the 1902/3 summer break, Madsen visited universities and electrical works in England and the USA. In 1903, he became Adelaide University’s lecturer in electrical engineering. The university and School of Mines in 1902 set up four-year courses leading to a joint school fellowship and university diploma in applied science. The electrical engineering course and laboratories design were left to Madsen, who took on all physics practical work, advised Adelaide Electric Lighting Co. and, by 1906, was helping Bragg with research. Bragg took a deep interest in these developments. With Todd's support, Bragg was elected an associate (1893) and then full member of The Institution of Electrical Engineers (UK) until 1912.
Robert Chapman, recruited to Adelaide University in 1888 by William Bragg, became a giant of South Australian engineering technology. After starting as assistant lecturer in mathematics and physics, Chapman taught mathematics at South Australian School of Mines and Industries from 1900. After lecturing in engineering, he became the university's first professor of engineering in 1907. From 1910-19, he replaced Bragg as professor of mathematics and mechanics. He resumed as professor of engineering from 1920. Chapman believed strongly engineering should be trained beyond apprenticeships through joint courses by the university and the School of Mines and Industries. These started in 1903 and became university degree courses, including civil engineering. He was a founding member and president of the South Australian Institute of Engineers. Chapman taught many who later distinguished themselves, including Essington Lewis, H.T.M. Angwin (chief engineer of South Australian Harbours Board), and his son Robert Hall Chapman (chief engineer of South Australian Railways). He did original research into metals, timber and concrete, and also studied tidal behaviour and astronomy. He worked with the South Australian government, as consultant on bridges, roads, jetties, railways and breakwaters. He wrote many papers on engineering as well as two books: The Elements of Astronomy for Surveyors and Reinforced Concrete. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1909 and supported the Astronomical Society of South Australia as president for a record 32 years.
19th CENTURY SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BUSINESSES NOT SHY TO TRY LATEST TECHNICAL ADVANCES
Benjamin) Herschel Babbage arrived South Australia in 1851 with a prestigious background in technology. He was eldest son of Charles Babbage, renowned Cambridge mathematician who originated the concept of a programmable computer. An uncle was William Wolryche-Whitmore, an MP who introduced the South Australia Foundation Act to the British Parliament. At 18, Hershel Babbage became a pupil of the engineer and architect William Chadwell Mylne, working on water projects. In the 1840s, he also worked with Isambad Kingdom Brunel on railway building in Italy and England. In 1850, Babbage was invited by Patrick Bronte (clergyman father of the Bronte sisters) to report on the unsanitary conditions in the West Yorkshire town of Haworth. Recommended by geologist Henry De la Beche, Babbage was assigned to make a geology and mineral survey of South Australia. In Adelaide, Babbage worked on several government projects, including the gold assay office in Victoria Square. In 1853, he became chief engineer of the Port Adelaide-to-city railway. Babbage was Mitcham District Council's first chairman from 1855. He was on the Central Road Board and Adelaide Philosophical Society (later Royal Society) president. Babbage was elected to represent Encounter Bay in the House of Assembly’s 1857 elections but resigned to lead northern expeditions, Although he made discoveries such as Lake Eye being divided into north and south, Babbage’s slow methodical pace led to him being replaced. Babbage withdrew from public life to build his “castle” at St Mary’s.
Adelaide’s F.H. Faulding – a small Rundle Street pharmacy from 1845 that became a multinational company – carried its 19th Century success into the 20th/21st by applying innovative technology to its products. Two of Faulding's major early innovations were a process to distil eucalyptus oil and to develop the test for eucalyptol content of the oil. The test became the industry standard, and the British Pharmacopoeia standard method in 1898. Other well-known products were Milk Emulsion (a pleasant alternative to cod-liver oil), Solyptol Soap (gold medal winner at the Franco-British Exhibition in London in 1908), Solyptol disinfectant, junket tablets, cordials, essential oils for perfumery and reagents such as Epson salts, most produced in its Thebarton factory. Other products developed by the company included Barrier Cream, formulated in 1941 to counter dermatitis in armament factories, and penicillin produced at a bacteriological laboratory built at Thebarton in 1944. After World War II, Faulding extended its products and wholesaling, becoming a public company in 1947. In the 1980s, Fauldings opened its W.F. Scammell Research Centre in Salisbury and developed drugs such a Doxycycline capsules and enteric-coated aspirin. Eryc – enteric-coated pellets of erythromycin – was a notable success in helping Faulding set up a bridgehead in the USA. A $2.3 billion a year revenue earner employing 4300 people and selling pharmaceuticals and healthcare into 70 countries, Fauldings became a takeover target and was bought out by Mayne Pharma in 2001.
Alfred Muller Simpson started an era of manufacturing innovation that lasted more than a century from 1864 when he became partner in the Adelaide business started by his father John. John Simpson arrived in Adelaide in 1849, having been apprenticed in 1820 in London as a tin-plate worker, and also studying science and chemistry, but ending up running a hatter business after joining his brother in a tailoring firm. Simpson was forced to migrate after a fire and the railway boom collapse ruined his business. After several unsuccessful ventures in Adelaide and twice visiting the goldfields while Sarah gave piano lessons, in 1853 John Simpson turned to tinsmithing, making pots and pans and supplying cans for the Glen Ewin jam factory. In 1862, he leased premises in Gawler Place, Adelaide. His son Alfred Muller Simpson, apprenticed in 1857 and as partner in 1864, took his father’s firm beyond its goods range from jam tins to snuff scoops. The innovative younger Simpson, one of the first members of the South Australian Chamber of Manufactures, introduced products such as fire-proof safes, bedsteads, japanned ware, colonial ovens and gas stoves. The fire- and thief-resistant Simpson safes became an early speciality of the firm and came to be used in offices and banks throughout South Australia and interstate. In 1878, Alfred Muller Simpson visited the Paris Universal Exhibition, which prompted him to mechanise his plants. He brought an American double-action press back to Adelaide along with ideas for new products and refining existing one. Under him, the firm continued to expand.
David Shearer invented Australia’s first motor car. A blacksmith and farm machinery maker with his brother John at Mannum on the River Murray, Shearer began working in 1894 on his “horseless carriage” powered by steam with mallee wood firing the engine. It had the world’s first differential. Shearer got permission for drive his “automobile” in Adelaide city streets in 1900 when he brought it to the Adelaide Chamber of Manufacturers Exhibition. Shearer’s vehicle travelled at 15 miles an hour, faster than England’s first car two years later that reached 10-12 mph. Shearer wasn’t interested in making cars. He just wanted to prove the horseless carriage was workable. He returned to making agricultural machinery. After early experience in blacksmithing and wagon building, David had joined brother in 1877 in making farm implements. The Shearers were invited to Mannum where the farmers needed tough equipment to clear land covered with mallee and pine. The Shearers came up with rugged machines – adding stump jump ploughs to the grubbing machines, fixed ploughs, scarifiers, harrows – that found a ready market in South Australia. In 1888, they invented a virtually unbreakable wrought steel plough share at one quarter the price of the old forged share. These shares swept Australia in popularity and saved farmers millions. By 1895, the Shearers expanded their business but kept improving to produce popular lighter and stronger stripper with a wider cut in 1902. The steam car project was just a background to all this.
Vivian Lewis produced the first petrol-driven motor car made in South Australia in 1900. He also built the first South Australian motorcycle in 1899. Lewis’s business was boosted by the visit to Adelaide in 1898 by Frenchwoman Anthelmina Serpolette who was promoting a petrol-driven motor tricycle for the Gladiator Cycle Company. Vivian Lewis’s workshop was called upon to fix Serpollete’s tricycle when it refused to go on the day before she was engaged to appear at the Ariel bicycle race meeting at the Jubilee Oval. Originally an importer and maker of bicycles, The Lewis Cycle and Motor Works’ said the first car it built was “manufactured entirely at the Lewis works” but the local content in later cars under the “Lewis” brand isn’t known. By 1907, the business was busy importing and manufacturing bicycles and manufacturing Lewis motorcycles. One in eight motorcycles on the road in South Australia in 1915 was a Lewis – and importing and retailing motor cars. With World War I and the loss of its founders Tom O’Grady and Vivian Lewis, the Vivian Lewis company took a different direction towards being a car dealership in the 1920s. Being flat, dry and relatively prosperous, with a limited rail network, South Australia took up the motor car quicker than other states. Australia’s first registration and licensing system was started in South Australia during 1906 and, by 1910, 1350 cars (and more motor cycles) were registered.
Adelaide’s place in the 20th Century as a powerhouse of Australian car making was not something brought in from overseas. The Australian car-making industry was spurred by the drive of three Adelaide horse coach/saddlery companies: Holden’s Motor Builders Ltd, floated in 1917; Duncan & Fraser, who switched to making and selling cars as early as 1903; and T.J. Richards and Sons, which became a car-body-building company in 1922. Duncan & Fraser, quality horse coach builders who won the contract to build Adelaide's trams in the 1870s, were ambitious in their 20th Century switch to cars. Those ambitions were choked by Ford Motor Co. in the 1920s. T.J. Richards and Sons also were bold in their car-building vision . It was T.J. Richards that beat Holden’s in 1937/8 by selling Australia’s first all-steel sedan car body. Holden and T.J. Richards had benefited from the 1917 federal government embargo on imported car bodies. But the family companies' next generation made the most of the opportunity. They embraced large investment, innovation and expansion. Under Edward (Ted) Holden, Holden's Motor Body Builders (HMBB) Woodville plant, with the latest technology, became the biggest of its type outside the USA. But the Depression forced Holden’s into selling to American partner General Motors in the 1930s. T.J. Richards remained 100% Australian-owned until Chrysler Corporation bought control in 1951.
FROM WEAPONS RESEARCH ESTABLISHMENT SALISBURY TO EDINBURGH DEFENCE PRECINCT
Adelaide’s leading role in computing during the 1950s/60s came from a convergence of the Weapons Research Establishment at Salisbury (since the end of World War II) and Adelaide University. In 1953, the Weapons Research Establishment (WRE) needed a better way to process data from missile trials at Woomera rocket range and miissle contractors' demands. The computing system for these needs was designed by John Allen-Ovenstone. He modified an Elliott 403 system to what was called the WREDAC. It integrated automatic handling of telemetry, radio doppler and radar data that set the pattern for the next 25 years. Ovenstone adapted WREDAC to process WRE’s administrative data. This led to his ideas for automated administrative information with a major effect in the defence department and acceptance of computer systems in Canberra’s government departments. In the 1956/57 summer, when WREDAC started, Ovenstone invited Adelaide University professor of applied mathematics, Ren Potts, to learn to program the computer. Potts and his students attended a computing conference in 1957 at the WRE, along with notable English computing pioneers, including Maurice Wilkes from Cambridge. This stimulated interest in computing in Adelaide. In 1959, Potts, some students and others from the university attended the first Fortran short course by IBM in Adelaide. Adelaide University was looking to upgrade its punched-card data system and Potts got it to set up a computing centre and to starti teaching computing science – with Ovenstone as professor. Potts had a prime role in founding the Computer Society of South Australia, the first of five state societies that combined in 1966 as the Australian Computer Society.
Renfrey Potts, Adelaide University’s professor of applied mathematics 1959-90, carried on the dynamic spirit of William Bragg and Charles Todd in showing how science could benefit society as technology but particularly the spirit of Todd in making an impact on Australian telecommunications. An internationally renowned applied mathematician, Potts’ main interest was in using mathematics to improve the way the real world works. Potts had pioneered early transportation science and became interested in operations research generally in the 1960s. He started an Adelaide local society (later national) for operations research involving academics, trainers and industry. Of the areas researched by Potts and his students, the biggest effect was in telecommunications. Potts recruited and backed L. T. M. Berry who wrote a thesis on telecommunications network planning and started a telecommunications research group at Adelaide University. In 1987, this group became the Teletraffic Research Centre supported by Telecom Australia. With ongoing funding from Telecom, OTC and then Telstra, the centre gained an international reputation for research on teletraffic. Potts encouraged the Australia and New Zealand industrial and applied mathematics society to be formed in 1975. Influenced by advances in computing at the Weapons Research Establishment in Salisbury, Potts was also first president of Australia’s first computer society in South Australia in 1960 and the key figure in setting Adelaide University’s computer centre, by creating interactions between academia and industry. In 2004, Potts was admitted to the Pearcey Hall of Fame to recognise his contribution to early computing in Australia
Edinburgh Defence Precinct, in the northern Adelaide city of Salisbury, has consolidated its niche within the federal defence department’s Defence Science and Technology (DST), created in 1974. Among the rolling Defence Science and Technology changes, Edinburgh is a continuum of the post-war Weapons Research Establishment built up at Salisbury. In 1994, Salisbury was headquarters to a consolidated electronics and surveillance research laboratory. Three years later, this laboratory was replaced by the new Knowledge Systems Building at nearby Edinburgh. This was joined by a torpedo systems centre and maritime experiments laboratory at Edinburgh in 2004. Defence Science and Technology’s home at Edinburgh Defence Precinct groups has become a key national defence research, manufacturing and sustainment hub. Part of the precinct, the RAAF Base Edinburgh is one of two defence department super bases and is home to 5000 military personnel, public servants and contractors. It is also home to the No. 92 Wing and its Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, No. 87 Squadron Air Force Intelligence, 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment; and the 1st Brigade Adelaide. It has national importance as control centre for Jindalee Operational Radar Network. Defence manufacturing plants in the precinct are operated by BAE Systems Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia, Airbus Group Australia Pacific, Raytheon Australia, CAE Australia and Meggitt Training Systems.The long-time Port Wakefield testing range has been upgraded to the proof and experimental establishment.
Adelaide University reseachers in 2019 shared in $6.6 million funding from Australia’s defence department to work of three quantum mechanics projects, including underwater devices to detect submarines and an ultra-accurate portable clock to improve GPS satellite technology. The funding consolidates Adelaide University’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) as one of Australia’s leading centres for quantum sensing and photonic technologies. It reaffirmed the defence department’s interest in developing quantum mechanics study, of the motion and interaction between subatomic particles, in South Australia. One of the IPAS projects will use magnetometers to track submarine activity. Technology used to detect variations caused by ferrous (unoxidised) iron in the total magnetic field will be applied to discover underwater vessels. Magnetometer sensors on the seabed could detect a submarines and essentially set up a trip wire around important Australian assets. The second project is a state-of-the-art optical clock that will harness billions of cold atoms to provide ultra-precise timing to improve defence GPS technology. Adelaide University scientists will work with researchers from Griffith, Curtin, La Trobe and Queensland universities to develop a portable state-of-the-art optical clock that tickles the atoms into releasing light in different colours, with green signalling it is ticking at 500 trillion times per second. The new optical clock will determine the locations of entities through assessing time signals emitted from satellites through ticking.
21st CENTURY PAYOFF FOR WEAPONS RESEARCH ESTABLISHMENT (WRE) SATELLITE FROM WOOMERA
Adelaide's Andy Thomas, Australia’s first space astronaut, made four missions during 22 years with NASA in the United States. Educated at St Andrew’s Primary School, Walkerville; St Peter’s College and Adelaide University (bachelor and doctorate in mechanical engineering), in 1978, he joined Lockheed in Atlanta, rising to principal aerodynamic scientist by 1990. Thomas was selected by NASA in 1992 and appointed to the astronaut corps. While awaiting space flight assignment, Thomas supported shuttle launch and landing operations at Kennedy Space Centre. He provided technical support to the space shuttle main engine project, the solid rocket motor project and the external tank project at the Marshall Space Flight Centre. Thomas was named as payload commander for STS-77 and flew his first flight in space on Endeavour in 1996. Although Paul Scully-Power had entered orbit as an oceanographer in 1985, Thomas was the first Australia-born professional astronaut to enter space. Thomas next trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, to serve as board engineer 2 aboard the Russian Space Station Mir for 130 days. STS-102 (2001) was the eighth shuttle mission to the international space station and Thomas's third flight. During the mission, Thomas spent 6.5 hours installing components to the outside of the space station. From 2001-03, Thomas was deputy chief of the NASA Astronaut Office. On his fourth space flight on STS-114, he logged more than 177 days in space. He worked with NASA Astronaut Office exploration branch until he retired in 2014.
South Australia will be home to the Australian Space Agency, based at the Lot Fourteen innovation hub (the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site) on North Terrace, Adelaide. It will oversee the nation’s burgeoning space industry with an initial 20 full-time equivalent staff. South Australia won the agency in 2019 over strong competition from other states, with Adelaide astronaut Andy Thomas supporting his home state’s bid. The federal government said Adelaide put the strongest case and was already home to more than 60 organisations and 800 employees in the space sector. South Australian space satellite startup companies include Fleet Space Technologies and Myriota. South Australia also launched Australia’s first satellite from Woomera in 1967. The space agency is based on hopes for local businesses and Australia to access the US$345 billion global space industry. The federal government’s $41 million for the agency aimed to triple Australia’s space economy to $12 billion and create up to 20,000 jobs by 2030. Having the space agency in South Australia also dovetails with the state’s rapidly-growing defence sector. A mission control centre and space discovery centre will be set up alongside the Australian Space Agency at Lot Fourteen. The control centre will be a focal point for space missions in Australia, able to guide small satellite missions, and accelerating Australian satellite technologyThe space agency was a key to the $551 million Adelaide City Deal, a joint federal, state and city governments deal focussing on Lot Fourteen.
Mike Roach Space Education Centre was opened at Hamilton Secondary College in Adelaide’s southwestern suburbs in 2017, coinciding with the city’s convention centre hosting the International Astronautical Congress and former astronauts Andy Thomas and Pam Melroy attending. The school’s specialist space education centre has four main areas, including a simulated Martian crater and landscape with seven geological zones. It was built with rock collected from all over Australia. Students play out space scenarios with teams taking turns to operate as astronauts dressed in full space suits collecting samples on the Mars surface. Students will play scientists monitoring data and problem solving at the school’s mission control room. The briefing room is an audio-visual experience where students can watch an introductory video about issues that involved in moving humans to Mars. A space laboratory is the fourth area of the school’s immersive hands-on learning experience that combines the four elements of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) learning into the theme of space education. The centre is used by all of the school’s 1000 students as well as many visiting primary schools. The school’s space program has been supported industry partners. Hamilton Secondary College started in 1958 as Mitchell Park Boys Technical High School. It became co-educational from 1972 as Mitchell Park High. In 1991, Hamilton Secondary College was born from amalgamating with Glengowrie High School that was on land once owned by the Hamilton wines family.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN 20th CENTURY IDEAS HAVE LOCAL AND WORLD-WIDE EFFECT
An ungainly South Australian icon, the Stobie, a powerline pole made of two steel joists held apart by a slab of concrete, was invented in the 1920s by Adelaide Electric Supply Company engineer James Cyril Stobie. His idea overcome two South Australian problems: scarce timber and abundant termites. As Adelaide Electricity Supply’s chief draftsman, Stobie invented his pole to carry electricity cables and telegraph wires in 1924. The company paid him £500 for the patent rights. The first of the now-725,000 poles were erected in South Terrace, Adelaide, and were then used extensively in building the electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure throughout the state. The Stobie pole was central to the rapidly expanding Adelaide Electricity Supply’s network. In 1936, Stobie converted a Sterling coal truck so it could install 21-metre long concrete-steel poles weighing 7.7 tonnes. The Electricity Trust of South Australia took over from Adelaide Electric Supply in 1946 and Stobie became chief design engineer. In that year, Stobie and Wheadon, with John Ragless Brookman, formed The Stobie Pole Syndicate to patent the design and then sell it or the manufacturing rights. The Hume Pipe Company became their first agents but, despite many international inquiries, South Australia has largely remained the only place where they are widely used. SA Power Networks (formerly the Electricity Trust of South Australia) continues to make stobie poles at a plant in Angle Vale. The expected service life of a Stobie pole is more than 80 years.
The two-way-radio powered by a pedal-operated generator was invented by Alfred Traeger in 1927 and became the central to the success of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and long-distance School of the Air education in the Australian outback. Traeger, ''curious, patient, precise”, studied mechanical and electrical engineering at South Australian School of Mines and Industries (1912-15). Always intrigued by radio, he obtained an amateur operator's licence and built his first pedal transmitter-receiver. He was contacted by flying doctor service founder John Flynn to assist in experiments to give remote outback families radio access to medical treatment. Flynn and Traeger carried out wireless experiments in outback areas, and transmitted Australia's first radio telegram. But copper oxide Edison batteries they used proved unsuitable for remote homes. Traeger developed a pedal generator to power a Morse cord wireless set. He added a typewriter keyboard enabling unskilled operators to type a message in plain language and have it transmitted in Morse. In 1939, Traeger's set dispensed with pedals and adopted a vibrator unit. Traeger also suggested the outback school of the air, later started by Adelaide’s Adelaide Meithke. With his brother and father, he founded Traeger Transceivers and exported his radios. In 1962, pedal sets went to Nigeria; in 1970, he provided an educational radio network for Canada. Traeger continued inventing. He designed a gas-turbine-driven car and used solar power to convert salt water to fresh water.
Besides inventing the world’s first disposable plastic hypodermic syringe in Adelaide in the late 1940s, Charles Rothauser, a pioneer of the injection-moulding of plastics, also developed the first all-plastic toilet cistern. Hungarian-born Rothauser, educated as an architect in Vienna, had begun making dolls with his wife Christine in Adelaide in 1939 as the Quality Toy Company. Finding a niche in the nascent plastics field enabled Rothauser to invent the plastic hypodermic syringe – a medical breakthrough that benefited millions of people. Starting with a factory in Norwood in 1941, his Caroma company became Australia’s leading manufacturers of bathroom products, including the world-first dual flush toilets system in 1982. He developed the Caroma Deluxe, the world’s first all-plastic one-piece moulded toilet cistern to combat Adelaide water’s corrosive effect on brass fittings. He built on the Caroma innovations with the first two-button dual flush and smartflush technology. Caroma was the first company to achieve the Australian water efficiency labelling and standard (WELS) five-star rating. Rothauser won a swag of export and design awards for his Caroma products out of the factories in Wetherill Park, Sydney (closed in 2014) and Norwood (closed in 2017).
Caroma products continue but are now all made overseas, with the Norwood plant shutting in 2017. The Caroma Dorf group of companies continues to offer bathroom, kitchen and laundry products from brands such as Fowler, Dorf, Clark, Epure, Radiant and Irwell. But its products are now made in Malaysia, China and Europe.
Xerography (photocopying), using liquid developer, was advanced by Ken Metcalfe and Bob Wright of the Defence Standards Laboratory in Adelaide in 1952. Xerography is a form of copying invented by American Chester Carlson in 1937. Carlson based his method on the property of some materials to increase their ability to conduct electricity when exposed to light (known as photo-conductivity).The xerographic process exposes a photosensitive surface to light reflected through or from the image to be copied. Next the surface is dusted with a dry powder developer that adheres to the charged areas creating a copy of the image. The copy is then transferred to paper and fixed with heat. Carlson's process reproduced black and white images well, but not images, such as photographs, with any shading. Metcalfe and Wright of the Defence Standards Laboratory (formerly the Munitions Supply Laboratory) in Adelaide studied xerography to adapt it for industrial and military use. In 1952, they began to use liquid developers which, because they contained more pigment particles than the dry developers, allowed copying of images containing continuous tones. Metcalfe and Wright's invention allowed the development of colour copying by overprinting consecutive images.
Plastic thinking motivated the start of Seeley International in 1972 when Frank Seeley switched from selling portable evaporative air conditioners to making them. Seeley saw plastics as the way to overcome the problem of corroding metal air conditioners. He set up in his garage at home in suburban Adelaide, making 1000 plastic air conditioners in the first year. Despite the doubts of others, Seeley persisted and developed all-plastic evaporative air conditioners – first portable and then, in 1983, ducted rooftop air conditioners. This was a breakthrough for the whole industry. The all-plastic air conditioners helped grow the rooftop cooling market in Australia from 12,000 units each year to around 70,000 units a year. Plastic air conditioners became industry standard. This growth led to Seeley expanding in own manufacturing capacity and approach. After using assembled parts made by suppliers, Seeley gradually brought more and more processes in house at its Lonsdale plant. This included its own injection moulding of plastic, as well as making motors, pumps and filters. The in-house manufacturing at first happened because suppliers had a monopoly and were increasing their prices. Since then, it has become part of the Seeley philosophy to provide local jobs. During the 1980s, Seeley began exporting evaporative air conditioners – first to the Middle East, then USA, then UK. It opened several sales offices around the world and won awards for design and manufacturing best practice. Seeley’s passion for innovation continued in 2010 with another revolution: Climate Wizard.
FILLING THE GAP OF ADELAIDE'S MULTIFUNCTION POLIS (MFP) IN 1980s/90s FAILURE TO IGNITE
South Australia’s high-technology hopes were dented when the Multifunction Polis (MFP), a controversial scheme for a planned community proposed in 1987, was abandoned in 1998. Futuristic infrastructure and modern communications were expected to help attract high-tech industries to the MFP, first proposed at Australia-Japan meeting in Canberra in 1987. Asian, particularly Japanese, investors were targeted. The swampland site at Gillman, north of Adelaide, selected in 1990 against interstate contenders, was criticised along with claims the project would become a Japanese settlement. More than 100 Australian and Japanese companies signed up to the MFP feasibility study but the negative publicity and a Japanese economic collapse stopped investment and the federal government withdrew funding in 1996. The state government announced the project’s demise in 1998. The 1980s idea of creating high tech villages at Gillman disappeared but development did procee at another northern Adelaide suburb, formerly called The Levels, site of a University of South Australia campus. The state government, with developer Delfin Lend Lease, proceeded along similar lines to the MFP but the name was dropped. The area is now occupied by Technology Park Adelaide and Mawson Lakes suburb. Technology Park features mostly high-tech industrial businesses and the Mawson Lakes is a mostly residential development set around artificial lakes. Its mix of modern low- and medium housing are served by shops, cafes, restaurants, a hotel, and office-based businesses in Mawson Central.
The $551 million Adelaide City Deal, a 10-year agreement between the Australian government, South Australian government and the City of Adelaide in 2019, aims to boost Adelaide’s innovative drive and vibrancy. Under the City Deal, the governments will invest in Lot Fourteen, the former site of the Royal Adelaide Hospital on North Terrace, Adelaide, as hub for innovators, entrepreneurs and artistic creators. Lot Fourteen will host the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency, its mission control centre and the Australian Space Discovery Centre. The City Deal will also invest in an Aboriginal Art and Cultures Gallery ($85 million) and an International Centre for Tourism, Hospitality and Food Studies at Lot Fourteen. Other investments as part of the city deal will include $10 million from the federal government and up to $12.6 million from the City of Adelaide towards smart technology. It will be part of plans for the state’s digital service delivery while building the National Broadband Network, the South Australian government's Gig City, and the City of Adelaide's Ten Gigabit Adelaide. An Aboriginal business hub for Lot Fourteen will receive $3 million. Governments will work with the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, and the University of South Australia as Collaborating Partners on developing the City Deal plan.
All three major South Australian universities are involved in turning their research into technology. Each has its own commercialisation arm: Adelaide Enterprise at Adelaide University; Flinders Partners at Flinders University; and UniSA Ventures at the University of South Australia. South Australia has a long history of success in defence research, underpinned by strong alliances between universities and industry. These alliances were recognised in 2018 through the Defence Innovation Partnership between Defence SA, Defence Science and Technology, and South Australia’s three universities. It will support research, develop and commercialise defence-relevant science and technology with the universities, industry and the state and federal governments working together, particularly through significant Defence Science and Technology research divisions at Edinburgh Defence Precinct. The three universities also work closely in the biomedical research precinct on the western end of North Terrace, Adelaide. Sited alongside the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and Royal Adelaide Hospital, is the University of Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building, supporting about 400 health sciences researchers. University of South Australia’s Health Innovation Building, includes the Centre for Cancer Biology set up within SA Pathology in 2008 as a hub for innovative science. A $280 million SAHMRI2 will be built alongside SAHMRI building to house Australia’s first proton therapy unit. Flinders University has committed $60 million to have a cancer research hub in the building.
LEGACY VISION BEHIND THE SCHOOL OF MINES AND INDUSTRIES REVIVED IN 21st CENTURY
TAFE (Technical and Further Education) in South Australia is looking to regain composure after being hit by a training scandal in 2017 when the Australian Skills Quality Authority suspended 14 courses, affecting around 800 students, for being substandard. Besides the sacking of its chairman and most of the board, TAFE’s financial position was addressed by the new Liberal state government in 2018 with a $109 million injected over five years but with campuses to be closed at Tea Tree Gully, Port Adelaide, Urrbrae, Parafield, Wudinna, Roxby Downs and Coober Pedy. Founded in 1971, TAFE SA has delivered vocational education and training (VET) to around 70,000 students each year – about the same number of students at a South Australia's public universities. Its 1,300 qualifications have ranged from certificates through to advanced diplomas and bachelor's degrees Students develop skills in sectors such as building and construction; tourism and hospitality; creative arts; mining, engineering and transport; primary industries, animal and laboratory sciences; community services, health and lifestyle; business, justice and information technology; language, literacy, numeracy; and Indigenous education. TAFE SA's training centre include the Tonsley campus, opened in 2014; the Adelaide College of the Arts, the International Centre for Hospitality, Tourism and Food Studies, training restaurant and Mining Engineering and Transport Centre at Regency Campus; driving simulators for the mining industry; truck-mounted mobile engineering training units and virtual enterprises.
Adelaide is now Australia’s first gigabit city. An Australian-first partnership between the state government and Adelaide’s three universities has delivered the SABRENet (South Australian Broadband Research and Education Network) – 200km of dark fibre carrying a high-speed broadband backbone across the city to university campuses and 14 strategic business innovation precincts. Students, teachers and technology businesses enjoying internet speeds of up to 10GB per second – 100 times the national average. In 2016, Adelaide enhanced its competitive advantage by becoming the first city outside the United States to join the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities network of cities, which includes Adelaide’s sister city, Austin, Texas. This coup for Adelaide also transformed US Ignite into an international program. The $7.6 million GigCity Adelaide network at TechinSA, funded by the state government to work with the high-tech industry to bring innovative South Australian products and technologies to global markets. Adelaide-based internet provider EscapeNet delivers internet services through the South Australian Broadband Research and Education Network (SABRENet) fibre optic network to key innovation sites and co-working spaces across metropolitan Adelaide, including Tonsley Innovation Precinct, TechInSA, the Stretton Centre and St Paul’s Creative Centre. Business tenants in those precincts will have access to gigabit-speed internet service plans. GigCity Adelaide was part of the state government’s $80 million to support innovative businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers.
South Australian developer eLabtronics has invented an electronics development platform, runlinc, that uses the internet to allow programming directly onto a microchip – simplifying the creating if IoT (internet of things) and AI (artificial intelligence) applications. eLabtronics believes the invention will become the “gold standard” for building electronic devices that draw on internet-based resources. Unlike other electronic prototyping platforms, runlinc’s system and web page is already on the wi-fi chip, simplifying programming. The wireless runlinc could do away with cables for programming. The technology, developed over five years, received global patent pending status in 2019. Its uses – including DIY smart home kits and IoT-enabled sensing devices for farmer – are almost endless. eLabtronics, started in South Australia by Dr Peng Choo and Miroslav Kostecki in 1994, specialises in micro computers or micro controllers: the brains of digital electronics systems in industries ranging from automotive to aviation. Its innovative ezSystem software simplifies programming. eLabtronics wanted runlinc rolled out “from the ground up” by teaching students to use it through Australian schools’ STEM (science technology engineering mathematics) education. But eLatronics’ education vision is much wider. In 2009, it launched a not-for-profit education arm called STEMSEL to teach disadvantaged children to use electronics with Social Enterprise Learning. It also operates in Kyrgyzstan, Cameroon, India, Brunei, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Philippines, Kenya, Bhutan and the USA.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN INNOVATION STILL SHINES IN 21st CENTURY
The flashing cricket stumps and bails used in Test, Twenty20 and 50-over cricket at international and top domestic level, including the hugely popular Indian Premier League (IPL), were designed and made by Port Adelaide-based manufacturer Zing International. The LED technology Zing Wicket System has gone strength to strength since launching in 2012, consistently growing export markets to New Zealand, South Africa, the Caribbean, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Television audiences for the Indian and Caribbean premier league Twenty20 matches run into the billions. Zing’s cricket stumps and bails had their United States debut in the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 tournament in Florida. The Zing Wicket System was first tried in a club game in Adelaide. Once Cricket Australia was convinced about using it instead of the wooden stumps for night matches, it used them in the 2012 Big Bash League in Australia. Invented by Bronte Eckermann, Zing flashing stumps and bails work through an innovative patented sensor system in each end of the bail that flashes coloured lights the millisecond both ends of the bail lift from the stumps. The revolutionary product has solved a common problem where it can be difficult to determine on a TV replay if both ends of any bail have lifted from the stumps and, therefore, if the batsman is out. With the help of 3D printing technology, the company can now manufacture 90% of the Zing System in Australia, with 80% in Adelaide, allowing quality control and local jobs.
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING AND IMPROVED TREATMENTS OFFSHOOTS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY FOCUS
Adelaide company Micro-X is pioneering a global revolution in lightweight medical – as well as defence and security – imaging products using cold-cathode X rays. The new Micro-X company moved from Victoria in a strategy to pick up highly-skilled workers from the shutdown of General Motors Holden’s car plant in 2017. It has also drawn on Adelaide’s supply chain of a car and defence component manufacturers such as Entech Electronics, Axiom Precision Manufacturing and Mincham Aviation. Micro-X received a loan from the Labor state government to set up at Tonsley Innovation Precinct’s Main Assembly Building. Micro-X produced the world’s first carbon nanotube powered X-ray imager, a machine that can be wheeled to a patient’s bedside. The cart weighs less than 100kg – easy to manoeurve, especially in intensive-care units. The carbon nanotube technology was developed in North Carolina but Micro-X commercialised it as a medical device and its global distributor Carestream Health is now selling the X-ray carts to hospitals in the USA and Europe. Micro-X is also developing a lightweight digital mobile X-ray system, the Rover, for the Australian Defence Force. The medical imager can be used by military field hospitals, humanitarian aid and disaster relief. From this contract came another, for a bench-top prototype of the Mobile Backscatter Imager with “superman vision” to take high-resolution images of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from a distance. In 2019, Micro-X has signed a contract with multinational Thales Group to develop its mobile X-ray products for security purposes.
South Australia has been a pioneer of biomedical engineering and has some of Australia’s leading minds. The state’s strength is in clinical communities and industry working together. Biomedical engineering projects in the pipeline include a nasal delivery device for pain relief, a device to prevent deep vein thrombosis,, an automatic screwdriver for surgeons to optimise healing of broken bones, and wearable technology that alerts Type 1 diabetics about serious dips in blood sugar. levels.
STATE'S COMMITMENT TO WASTE CUTTING PLUS SOLAR/WIND ENERGY HAS FLOW-ON EFFECTS
The first commercial pilot of a world-leading molten silicon energy storage system, developed by South Australian innovator 1414 Degrees, started using technology installed at SA Water’s Glenelg wastewater treatment plant in 2019. The 1414 Degrees’ biogas thermal energy storage system (GAS-TESS) stores energy from biogases created by wastewater treatment to increase the plant’s energy self sufficiency. The project is funded by 1414 Degrees and the South Australian government’s renewable technology fund, while SA Water will allow the 1414 system to integrate energy storage and heat with its industrial operations.1414 Degrees, now listed on the Australian securities exchange, expects the use of GAS-TESS in 2019 and give immediate returns for SA Water while building a foundation to apply the technology at similar sites worldwide. 1414 Degrees technology delivers heat as well as electric power. Energy is sourced from renewables or the grid, and is stored as latent heat at constant temperature. The energy is then dispatched on demand. This breakthrough technology is set to disrupt energy storage globally because it provides the world’s most common form of energy: heat. The GAS-TESS idea started in 2009 when Adelaide businessmen Harold Tomblin, John Moss and Robert Shepherd engaged a former CSIRO scientist to develop a device to harness silocon for energy storage. With research funding, mechanical engineer Matthew Johnon developed the technology, and Kevin Moriarty from the mining industry helped commercialise it.