In 1995, a retired Dental Surgeon named William Walsh had bought a desktop computer and wanted help using it. He thought there were probably a number of other people in the Southern Highlands in the same position so after meeting with Allen Cupitt of Ace Computers, an advertisement was placed in the local paper asking for any likeminded community members to attend a meeting, to be held in Allen’s office.
Members of the public attended and after further meetings our club “The Souther Highlands Computer Users Group” (SHCUG) was born in May that year. Bill Walsh became the first President. Meetings were held in Ace’s premises and then in other local businesses. As numbers grew, the meetings developed into monthly meetings held at the Seniors’ Hall Mittagong, on a Monday. Later and because of ill health, Bill relinquished the role of President and Ron Clemens took over, Bill moving to Canberra.
In 2001 Roger Ware approached the Harbison Board and was successful in acquiring Unit 5 at Harbison for SHCUG’s use as a meeting place and class room. This was a turning point in SHCUG’s history and the first Committee Meeting of SHCUG was held in there in May. Training courses for members followed.
Unit 5 comprised an entry/toilet, combined kitchen/ dining room and an adjoining bedroom. The dining room was set up originally with older computers on loan. SHCUG later bought new desktops, replacing the ones on loan. The bedroom of this unit was used for workshops. The Apple Mac Group (established in 2004) also used this room for weekly help sessions. The Genealogy group too was born in these rooms.
SHCUG eventually outgrew the Seniors’ Hall and the monthly meetings were moved to the Uniting Church Hall, Bowral and the ten year anniversary was celebrated there in 2005. Whilst this hall suited very well size wise, the Church Hall Committee advised of a pending substantial increase in hall hire fees. The committee then moved the monthly meetings to the East Bowral Community Centre Hall, but on a Tuesday evening, due to availability. At these monthly meetings guest speakers would come to give presentations for SHCUG members. This worked well at the beginning but eventually it became increasingly difficult to arrange for speakers, especially those from Sydney, because of the distance.
Over time SHCUG was given access to what was originally the bedroom of Unit 6 (a mirror reverse of unit 5) when it became vacant. The common wall between these rooms was partly removed giving SHCUG access to three rooms. A former committee member, Bob Dowrick built the benches in this large room where SHCUG’s equipment was, at that time, situated. The other half of unit 6, when it became vacant in 2007, was offered to the Apple group.
In 2014 the monthly meetings were cancelled and a weekly “Members Helping Members” session for PC users was commenced where any member could visit the “Education Centre” from 10 am to 12 noon, for help with any problems they encountered using their computer, Tablet or Smartphone. These sessions were very well patronised and most of the time all the rooms were in use, including the end room that was jokingly still called the “Apple room” as by that time the PC and Apple users had blended together.
On Saturday 23 May 2015, SHCUG celebrated its 20st birthday in style. A small display of computers and digital devices, some 20 years and older, had been set up in our Education Centre for members to visit.
In August 2017, our much loved unit 5/6 was demolished and SHCUG’s Education Centre was relocated to unit 56. Because of limited space, the Monday morning PC help sessions are now conducted in Scott Hall, whilst the Apple Users Group have their help session in unit 56, on Monday afternoons.