Professor Arthur Sale, one of the driving forces behind the foundation of ACS’ Tasmanian branch, has passed away aged 79.
Born in South Africa, Professor Sale studied at the University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal) and graduated with an Electronics Engineering honours degree before encountering computers during a stint with Philips NV in Eindhoven Netherlands in 1963.
Having returned to South Africa to complete his PhD in Computer Science, Professor Sale migrated to Australia in 1969 with his family to join the University of Sydney’s Basser Laboratory as a senior lecturer.
Shortly after his arrival, Professor Sale joined ACS and went on to serve on the New South Wales Executive Committee.
“I'd been a member of the South African Computer Society, so it was absolutely natural I’d join the New South Wales branch and actually got onto their executive committee,” Professor Sale said in a 2015 interview.
Five years after arriving in Sydney, Professor Sale moved to Hobart to become the University of Tasmania’s foundation Chair of Information Science.
In a memoir for the University of Tasmania, Professor Sale wrote of his arrival at the Hobart campus, “The University was taken by surprise. It really hadn’t established any new discipline for 10 years and had forgotten how to do so. When I asked where my office was, I was told to go and talk to the Professor of Physics and see if he would give me an office (he loaned me one).
“As to furniture, I quickly established that I did not have any budget for the rest of 1974, but I could go and look in the maintenance store for discarded desks and chairs that I could have. At least they had envisaged that I would need a secretary and a lecturer for 1975, so I could advertise for them, which I immediately did.”
The following year he was instrumental in the creation of the ACS Tasmanian Branch before going on to hold various positions from Vice Chair, Committee Member and Chair over the subsequent 25 years.
Ray Leonard, Chair of ACS’ Tasmanian branch, paid tribute to the professor’s contribution to the state and the IT sector, saying, “Arthur was such an integral part of the ACS family for so long. He was an effective and formidable advocate for computing science, a pioneer who was instrumental in creating the technology sector in Tasmania, and in doing so transforming the state.”
ACS President Ian Oppermann added, “It is sad to hear of Professor Sale’s passing. Tasmania has lost a great pioneer of the state’s ICT sector and ACS one of its trailblazing members. Arthur contributed much to the profession and we are forever in his debt. On behalf of ACS, I extend our condolences to Arthur’s family.”
At the University of Tasmania, he was largely responsible for the university to be the first in Australia, along with the University of Melbourne, to offer a full three-year degree in computer science.
In 1988–90, he was elected chair of the University’s Professorial Board. From 1993–99, he held the position of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Information Systems) and was a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive, becoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 1993 until his retirement in 1999.
After his 1999 retirement, Professor Sale focused on his hobbies of plant tissue culture, orchid growing, wood carving, wood furniture, ship models – and glassmaking, a skill he adopted shortly after arriving in Tasmania.
Professor Sale is survived by his wife of 57 years, Elaine, and one of their two daughters.