Oh what a different world it was then

Oh what a different world it was then: IT was in its infancy, we were all assured of a job at the end of the journey, and we were there to learn and to have fun.

My memories of “studying” at Curtin starting in 1973:

  • Being in the School of Computing and Quantitative Studies away in the corner of the campus (309) – a small standalone building where the uncool geeks were;
  • Writing programs in COBOL on punched cards, and having to manually sequence them when you inevitably dropped the deck of 300 cards on the floor;
  • In the dawning of the age of feminism (or women’s lib as it was then), attending the Male Chauvinist Society march through campus, which was an excuse for a flour bomb and fruit fight: I remember the Channel 9 reporter (Felicity something) wearing an expensive pink jumpsuit, heavily made up & looking singularly unimpressed dripping egg flour and salad;
  • Being a member of the WAIT Stationery Aerodynamicists Club – the Guild would provide funding for materials, and we found if you lined the paper plane with gravy, put a kink in one wing and flew it down the length of the main cafeteria, it would fly straight and then do a 90 degree turn releasing the gravy over the unlucky patrons;
  • If you left a vanilla slice in the wood forest sculpture in the Robertson Library cafeteria at the end of Semester 2, when you came back for Semester 1 the following year you had an interesting biology experiment;
  • Kebabs at George’s;
  • Lunchtime gigs on the lawn at the Student Guild;


  • Streakers irrespective of the weather and temperature; and
  • Long hair.

I did say it was a different world.

After a number of years in my profession both here and two stints in the UK, I came back to Curtin in a number roles; from an undergrad tutor to Adjunct Senior Fellow, with the Business School over 20+ years.  My fondest memories of that period include:

  • seeing the light bulbs going off above students;
  • lecturing to 500+ students in one hit in Elizabeth Jolley;


  • setting up our first uses of contemporary technologies in teaching (PowerPoint, web, online learning) after starting on transparencies – remember these?



  • being a part of the start of the Internet – FTP to Gopher to WWW – and the conferences where we compared notes on what we could do with this cool new stuff, what worked and what didn’t;
  • having those conferences near Byron Bay ?;
  • the critical discussions I had with students, comparing textbook content with what they were seeing day to day in their evolving business environment, both here and throughout SE Asia (I lectured “e-Commerce” in Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Miri, and Strategic Information Management and Technology Innovation at GSB and Bentley). The field was changing so rapidly I had to revise the content extensively every semester to ensure it was relevant.


I am still in contact with literally 2 generations of my ex-students (even a mother & daughter whom I both taught) and staff, which is probably the best part of my time at Curtin – establishing professional & personal relationships that have literally survived the passage of time.

Gregg Boalch