ACS is sad to announce the passing for former president, Alan Coulter, who passed away last Wednesday, aged 87.

Over a long technology career, starting as a Junior Postal Officer in 1950, Alan served as ACS President between 1985 and 1987, having been voted a fellow in 1970. In 1986 he was appointed an Honorary Life Member.

ACS President Ian Oppermann paid tribute to Alan’s contribution to the Australian ICT sector, saying “his foresight in computing and networks was an important part of the profession’s development in both Queensland and nationally. He was part of the early wave of skilled technologists who established IT in government and industry.”

Having graduated with Bachelor of Economics from the University of Queensland, Alan moved with the then Post Master General’s department to Melbourne in 1958 as a research psychologist.

The shift to computing came after Alan attended a 1959 course demonstrating the newly created SILLIAC computer. With the support of ACS founding President John Makepeace Bennett, he became a Computer Programmer in the PMG’s data processing department the following year.

After seven more years with the PMG, Alan returned to Queensland to become Brisbane City Council’s Chief Data Processing Officer and became Director of the University of Queensland’s Computer Centre in 1972 after a brief move into stockbroking.

During his 24-year tenure at the University of Queensland, Alan was a driver in the development of SPEARnet – the South Pacific Educational and Research Network – launched in 1986 and one of the predecessors of AARNet, Australia’s first internet network.

Professor Gordon Rose, who worked with him during that period, said of his passing “The University was indeed fortunate to have Alan’s contribution for almost thirty years, a period of extensive growth in all aspects of computing.

“Apart from his profession, Alan hosted numerous social functions at his wonderful old ‘Queenslander’ home which extended a sense of fellowship and belonging to all of his numerous friends.

“Alan was always cooperative and supportive and well-liked by his staff who have acknowledged his constant support and encouragement.”

Along with being ACS national president, Alan also served as Queensland Branch Chair in 1971 and 72, represented Australia on various IFIP committees as well as being a long standing member of the Queensland Royal Society and a founding and life member of the Australian Psychological Association.

Pamela, Alan’s wife, passed away in 1998, and he is survived by his four children, Christopher, Matthew, Elizabeth and Sarah along with eight grand-children.

Alan’s funeral will be held online at 11am this Thursday, June 11. It can be viewed at