History of IEEE in Australia
The Early Years of IEEE (period 1890~1970) in Australia
The first Australian member (Associate) of the AIEE was Mr Wilfred Joseph Spruson (1870~1939) pictured opposite, of Hepburn and Spruson Patent Attorneys, Sydney. His membership was recorded in 1890. Wilfred attended The University of Sydney from 1886 to study engineering and electricity. He won the Legislative Assembly seat of Millers Point in 1898, and was active in the formalities of Federation. He was an advisor to Cardinal Moran, and was awarded the cross of Leo in 1908, and was appointed a Papal Chamberlain in 1929. He died on 16 August 1939 while still in active practice.
Select Bibliography for Spruson
B. Nairn, Civilising Capitalism (Canb, 1973); J. Hosie, Challenge (Syd, 1987); Votes and Proceedings (Legislative Assembly, New South Wales), 1887, 2, 1891-92, 5, 1894-95, 1, 1896, 1; Freeman's Journal (Sydney), 25 Aug 1900, 24 Aug 1939; Catholic Press, 21, 28 July 1904, 23 Mar 1905, 24 Aug 1939; Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 27 May 1929; Bulletin, 21 Mar 1934; Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Aug 1939; P. McMurrich, Not Angels, Nor Men Confirmed in Grace: The Society of Mary in Australia, 1892-1938 (M.A. thesis, University of Sydney, 1988); private information.
Author: Bede Nairn
Print Publication Details: Bede Nairn, 'Spruson, Wilfred Joseph (1870 - 1939)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp 39-40.
Mr Gustav S Fisher of Tramway Construction, Sydney joins AIEE in 1891.
The “Local Honorary Secretaries” of 1917 listed Mr W.G.T. Goodman of Adelaide, South Australia in the AIEE transactions XXXVI. The AIEE transactions of 1917 are pictured opposite.
Dr Matt Darveniza was known to be active in the IEEE PES as a “IEEE Member at Large” in the late 60’s and early 70’s, more information may become available at the IEEE Queensland Section web-link.
Mr Eric Khu joins [[[IRE History 1912-1963|IRE]] in 1951, becoming the first Australian IEEE Life Member in 1990. Eric attended the 35 year anniversary celebration held in August 2007.
The Australian Section (1972 – 1985)
Formal IEEE involvement occurred when there was only one Section in Australia, aptly called the ‘Australian Section’. Jim Vassleu had originally consulted with David Hutt of Auckland about the launch of the Australia Section.
The first meeting of IEEE Australian members was organised by James J. (Jim) Vasseleu in early 1972 and held at the Cell Block Theatre, Darlinghurst NSW. It was agreed, by those attending, that the formation of an Australian Section would be highly desirable and Mr Vasseleu should proceed with the preparation and submission of a petition. Mr Len Clemenson, Jim Vasseleu, Reg Ryan, Phil Amos, Allan James and Les Port were a signatories to the Australia Section formation. Les was a partner in Port Warren & McCaskell engineers, he later became Mayor of Sydney and was a host to the original ABC TV series of ‘The Inventors’. Les died in 1978.
The area to be encompassed by the proposed section was all Australian States and Territories comprising New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and the Territory of Papua New Guinea. The petition was signed by 63 members and submitted to IEEE Headquarters at the beginning of June 1972. Dr Tatsjui Nomura from the Tokyo Section (who was the Region 10 Director) supported the petition and the Australian Section was established on 16 August 1972. At the first official meeting, which was held at Neutral Bay Junction, NSW, on 12 September 1972, James Vasseleu was elected Chair, Len-nox J. Clementson Vice Chair and James Deans Secretary/Treasurer.
Shortly afterwards, the 1972 IEEE President, Dr. Robert Tanner, visited Australia and, accompanied by officers of the newly formed Australian Section, had discussions with representatives of the two chartered Australian National Societies, the Institution of Engineers, Australia, and the Institution of Radio and Electronics Engineers, Australia.
Australian Section By-laws were prepared in October 1972 and submitted to IEEE Headquarters.
During 1973, a number of technical meetings were held in cooperation with the National Societies and, in early October, Dr John D. Ryder; 1973 Chair of the IEEE Fellows Committee, visited the Section and conducted a seminar at the University of New South Wales, Kensington.
Mr Vasseleu retired as Australian Section Chair at the end of 1973 and Mr Clementson was elected 1974 Chair.
A full program of technical meetings was again arranged in cooperation with the National Engineering Societies during 1974 and 1975.
From 1974 onwards, one very active IEEE person, Colin Kline, lecturer at the then Ballarat College of Advanced Education (now University of Ballarat) was very actively promoting student memberships to the newly accredited engineering degree streams in this regional Victorian college. Colin became the 1st IEEE Student Councillor at the BCAE in 1986.
In September 1975, Papua New Guinea achieved independence, but was only dropped from the Australian Section in 1979. IEEE Members located in Papua New guinea are still registered on the Australia Council member database, with a total of 10 listed May 2005.
The 1975 IEEE President, Arthur Stern, visited the Section in October 1975. In late 1975, as a result of an earlier petition, the Victorian Sub-Section was formed. The Victorian sub-section was active for around 3 years, and then became dormant. Mr Clementson retired at the end of 1975 and was suc-ceeded as Chair by Dennis Bradshaw, who had been secretary of the Section.
During 1976, the Australian Section nominated Mr Vasseleu for the position of Region 10 Director for 1977-78. The IEEE Board of Directors appointed him Director in December the same year. Peter Greenwood was the corresponding member located in Papua New Guinea.
Mr Bradshaw retired in 1978 and was succeeded as Chair by Dr Ramutis Zakarevicius. Mr Clement-son died in November 1978 and, in early 1979, the L.J. Clementson Memorial Student Prize was es-tablished.
In June 1981, Brian Love was appointed Chair of the Victorian Sub Section, which had been inactive for several years. An inaugural meeting was held in October 1981. A new committee was elected and the Victorian Sub Section was reactivated.
At the end of 1981, Dr Zakarevicius retired and was succeeded by Max Simons, who had been Secretary of the Australian Section. Mr Tuan Bui was the ‘Circuit’ newsletter editor, and was working with Cochlear. Tuan later moved to the USA.
Dr Robert Larson, the 1982 IEEE President, visited the Victorian Sub Section in the latter part of 1982 as well as the Australia Section in NSW.
Dr Harry Green was first “elected” Region 10 Director for 1983-84. This coincided with the region 10 boundary adjustments. Prior to this, Region 10 directors were simply appointed for a fixed 2 year term, while regions 1-9 had all elected their representatives. While Harry was never represented on the Australia Section committee, he was the Canberra liaison and host for many international visitors there.
A petition to upgrade the Victorian Sub Section to full Section status was prepared and submitted to IEEE Headquarters by Brian Love in mid 1983; approval was obtained in September 1983, but was not initiated until 1984.
The 1983 IEEE President, Dr James Owens and the IEEE General Manager, Eric Herz, visited the Victorian and Australian Sections during September 1983. They also visited the Canberra headquarters of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, for discussions about formalising a cooperative agreement.
Although no student branches had yet been established in Australia, Australian students participated in all the Region 10 student prize competitions held since 1972. Dr Robert Radzyner was responsible for student activities including submission of entries for the Region 10 competitions.
By 1984, the Centenary year of IEEE, the IEEE Australian Section membership had grown over five-fold since its inception. The combined total of the Australian and Victorian Sub-section was in excess of 1700 members. Based on this membership, eight Australians were awarded the 1984 Centenary Medal. They were:
- Ian P. Bates
- Louis W. Davies
- Robert Henry Frater
- Douglas G. Lampard
- Hugo K. Messerle
- Peter I. Somlo
- Sir A.W. Tyree
- James J. Vasseleu
A Region 10 Centenary ‘blue book’ compilation was produced in 1984 with some material from that document used here. The Australian contribution to this book was prepared by Jim Vasseleu and Max Simons.
Max Simons retired as the Australia Section Chair in 1984 and was succeeded by James Vasseleu with Alan Rister as Secretary.
Early 1985, Jim Vasseleu petitioned for the formation of an IEEE Australia Council (AC). The first AC meeting was on 30th May 1986. Max Simons was the founding Chair of the IEEE Australia Council, with Richard Clark being Secretary / Treasurer.
The initial plan for the section structure in Australia was:
- Queensland / Papua New Guinea
- New South Wales / Australian Capital Territory
- Victoria / Tasmania
- South Australia / Northern Territory
- Western Australia
With the formation of the Victorian Section and the desire for other states to be equally represented, eventually lead to a change in the way IEEE operated in Australia and in New South Wales in particular. Approval for the formation of an Australia Council was granted in Dec 1985. Refer to the IEEE AC website: http://ewh.ieee.org/r10/australia/council/
Section Formation elsewhere in Australia
Other Sections formed in Australia and their Inauguration Dates:
- Victoria (VIC), 12 August 1983
- Western Australia (WA), 24 May 1984
- Queensland (QLD), 22 February 1985
- South Australia (SA), 23 August 1985
- Australia Capital Territory (ACT), 18 November 1988
- North Queensland (FNQ), 29 January 1994 (name change in May 2008 to the "North Australia Section")
The IEEE New South Wales Section History (1985 to Present)
In December 1985, in response to the earlier creation of the Victorian Section, the Australian Section was renamed the New South Wales Section and the Australia Council was formed.
The name of the old Australian Section was then changed to the New South Wales Section.
In 1986, the IEEE President Bruno Weinschel and General Manager Eric Herz visited Sydney en-route to the Region 10 meeting in Perth. Alan Rister arranged a dinner at the Royal Automotive Club. Interestingly, all the US representatives missed the Perth photo shoot, as they had to take first avail-able flights out of Australia before an airline strike. Refer to the archive photo.
Jim Vasseleu retired as Chair of the New South Wales Section in 1987 and was succeeded by Walter Lachs, with Demetrios (Jim) Logothetis as Secretary.
Walter Lachs was Chair until 1990 when he was succeed by Jim Logothetis. Walter became Secretary and John Robinson was elected Treasurer.
Walter Lachs served as Australia Council Chair from 1993 to 1994.
Jim Logothetis retired in 1994 and was succeeded by Walter Lachs. Jim became Secretary and John Robinson was Treasurer.
In 1994, Jim Vasseleu, receives the ‘IEEE Larry K Wilson Transnational Award for "For more than 20 years of dedicated services, encouraging expansion & development of IEEE in Region 10".
Walter Lachs served one year as Chair in 1995. Jim Logothetis succeeded him in 1996. Walter Lachs became Secretary and John Robinson continued as Treasurer.
In 1995 Senior Executives of IEEE, including the 1995 President Tom Cane and the 1994 President H. Troy Nagle, visited Sydney and a meeting and dinner was held with the Section Committee on 15 August.
In 1996 the Max Simons Student Prize was established, noting it was formerly known as the Clement-son Student Award back in 1979. The Clementson award was active for approximately 4 years. Mr Gary Anedo (dec~2002) was the 1st student to receive the Clementson award and was eventually a Professor at the University of Wollongong.
In 1998, the NSW Section embarked on a major conference organisation proposed by Sam Reisenfeld with GlobeCom'98 held in Sydney. Jim Logothetis was the chair of the conference committee, and it faced many challenges with regard to the venue management, preparing a complete CD to offset the volume of paper and identifying enough volunteer assistance to bring the conference to a successful outcome. An excerpt of the GlobeCom'98 CD is kept in the archive. Mr (Jim) Demetrios N Logothetis was awarded the Region 10 outstanding Volunteer award in 1998.
The first agreement by IEEE was with IEE resulting from discussions by Jim Vasseleu and Leo Young in 1978 and signed circa 1993, modelled off a similar agreement that existed in Northern Italy. Negotiations with IEEE Australia Council stalled for 2 years, then escalated to IEEE HQ for a delegated signoff. The tripartite agreement with IEEE, IEE and IEAust was formulated to offer Australian mem-bers of 2 or more Institutions a discount on membership fees, ranging from 5% to 10%. This was ratified 7 September 1998, signatories were Dr Andrew Parfitt (for IEEE), Barry Grear for IEAust, and the then president of IEE.
John Robinson succeeded Jim Logothetis in 1999 as Chair. In this year, Jim Logothetis was Secretary and David Burger was Treasurer. In John’s second year, Andrew Parfitt was Secretary and Graeme Gwilliam was Treasurer.
During John Robinson’s term, IEEE Millennium Medals were presented to eleven Section Members at a luncheon sponsored by the IEEE Life Members Affinity Group. The luncheon was held in August 2000 at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron in Kirribilli. Reference the group photo in the archive. The Millennium medal recipients were:
- Trevor S. Bird
- Graeme Gwilliam
- Walter Lachs
- Demetrios Logothetis
- Vincent Morgan
- Bruce Poon
- Faz Rahman
- Sam Reisenfeld
- John L. Robinson
- James J. Vasseleu
- Ramutis Zakarevicius
Two major international conferences organised during this time, Globecom 98 and PICA 2001. The financial side of the PICA 2001 conference took 3 years to complete. The APMC 2000 conference was hosted in Sydney during this period.
John Robinson retired at the end of 2000 and was succeeded by Chair, Trevor Bird. Andrew Parfitt continued as Secretary. Graeme Gwilliam retired as Treasurer in 2001 and was succeeded in 2002 by David Burger.
Dr Andrew Parfitt was awarded the Region 10 outstanding Volunteer award in 2001.
In 2002, the Section seconded the services of Mr Jon Paul Agnew to re-vamp, manage and bring the NSW website into the 21st century. Up to this time the IEEE NSW website was simply a banner hosted at UTS. Mr Bruce Poon was awarded the Region 10 outstanding Volunteer award.
By the start of 2002, the Section had 13 IEEE Fellows. Mid 2002, the Grad’s Of the Last Decade (GOLD) affinity group was launched with Ms Filita Barker being the founding chair of this initiative. Filita moved to Europe mid 2003, with Simon Boland assuming the chair.
On 16 August 2002, the NSW Section celebrated the 30th anniversary of its foundation at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Kirribilli. IEEE Life members attended.
2003 saw two South East Asian conferences relocated to Sydney at short notice due to the ‘SARS’ virus health warnings in Singapore and Hong Kong at that time. The SARS warnings in south east Asia also delayed the Malaysian R10 meeting until October 2003. The IEEE President, Michael Adler visited Sydney in October 2003.
John Robinson also served as IEEE Australia Council chair in 2003 and 2004.
In early 2003, a detailed MOU was prepared between the IEEE, IEE and Engineers Australia which bridged the period until the tripartite agreement could be re-ratified. Refer to the archives for a copy this document.
The IEEE NSW Section is awarded the inaugural ‘R10 Large Section Award’ for 2003; refer to the section photo archive for 2003.
The 1998 tripartite agreement (MOU) of IEE/IEEE/IEAust was not renewed automatically given objections from the Victorian Section. The objections were eventually addressed and a revised agreement was re-ratified on 27 June 2003 with expiry 1 Jan 2006.
In March 2004, the IEEE Hunter sub-section was formally disbanded.
Some IEEE executives transited Sydney & met IEEE NSW Section members en-route to the April 2004 Adelaide Region 10 conference, Cleon Anderson (PresElect 2005), Gerard Alphonse (IEEE USA) and Roger Sullivan (Region 1).
Dr Andrew Parfitt resigned mid-term 2004 to relocate back to Adelaide. Graeme Gwilliam was elected as Chair and Ian Boyd as Vice Chair for the remainder of 2004. Trevor Bird also relinquished his ‘Circuit’ editorship due to his MTT editorial commitments. ‘Circuit’ editor tasks were taken over by Eddie Fong.
Graeme Gwilliam and David Burger represented the IEEE NSW Section at the IEEE Region 10 con-ference held in Singapore on 30/31 March 2005. Dr Ian Boyd also attended, but in the capacity as IEEE Australia Council Secretary.
An event sharing MOU between Engineers Australia, IEE and IEEE was tabled for agreement at the state / division level in May 2005. This was abandoned some months later.
June 2005 marked the passing of Mr Demetrios (Jim) Logothetis, Jim had only resigned his joint lecture committee position in May. His memorial service was marked with the attendance of 150 people, with many IEEE members. Jim’s wife Cecelia attended the 2005 Section AGM as a special guest.
Eddy Fong, Graeme Gwilliam and Ian Boyd represented IEEE NSW at the Region 10 conference in March 2006 at Chiangmai, with Ms Filita Barker participating in the GOLD congress, and part of the R10 Student congress in China.
The new IEEE NSW EMBS Chapter was launched in July 2006 with Dr Carolyn McGregor of the University of Western Sydney being the founding chair.
The 2007 Region 10 Director Ms Janina Mazierska met with the NSW Executive committee on 16 January 2007 with a dinner meeting at Cockle Bay. The 2007 Region 10 conference was conducted at Kota Kinabalu on March 24/25 with David Burger representing the NSW Section.
The NSW joint Communications and Signal Processing chapter agreed to add the OES to its joint status in June 2007. The joint petition is progressing.
The NSW LEOS chapter and the NSW SSC/CS Chapter were agreed to merge into a single joint chapter in July 2007. The petition is progressing. An IEEE NSW Education Society Chapter was launched on 10 May 2007 with Mark Lee of Charles Sturt University being the founding chair.
The IEEE NSW (Australian) Section celebrated the 35th year anniversary at the Royal Sydney yacht Squadron. Forty-four members and guests attended, including representatives from Sprusons and North Sydney TAFE. North Sydney TAFE was awarded the first “Friends of IEEE” award in Australia by the R10 director, Janina Mazierska. The plaque is placed in the TAFE Library.
In November 2007, our founding member Mr Jim Vasseleu passed away, with an obituary published in ‘The Institute’ IEEE flyer in March 2008.
Macquarie University student Michael Boers won the 2007 IEEE MTT High Efficiency Power Amplifier Competition award, producing a 10watt amplifier operating at 1.2Ghz with an efficiency of 80%.
The 2008 Sections Congress in Quebec City was attended by David Burger, Section Chair and Eddie Fong, Newsletter Editor, with our GOLD Congress representative Ms Sarah Hakami.
Bibliography of Electrical Heritage in Australia - a detailed bibliography of monographs, unpublished material, reports and other relevant materials