Regarded as the ‘father of IT’ at WAIT, Ron Hartley was the inaugural head of the Department of Computer and Data Processing and was responsible for numerous innovative developments that saw the Institute become a leader in computing.
Ron Hartley was one of the few qualified computer specialists in Western Australia in the late 1960s, having completed UWA’s post-graduate diploma course among other studies. As a senior lecturer at Perth Technical College, he had forged links with the infant computing profession in Perth and provided reports on the selection of a computer system for the College. At WAIT, Hartley introduced computing to academic staff from all departments, especially engineering and business. He was executive officer to the Institute’s computer advisory committee, which selected an ICL 1902A computer that arrived at WAIT in 1971.
Hartley worked on a program for dietary analysis, which was widely used in Australian hospitals, universities and colleges, and by the NSW Department of Health. His Department played an important role in installing and administering WAIT’s data processing systems for accounts, research and planning, examinations, payroll, fee collection and library operations – systems that were in the vanguard of Australian computing. Hartley was made a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society in 1976.