I’m not sure when I first saw a Kookaburra PC – but it must have been about 1985. I remember thinking it was a funny looking thing, with a letter-box of a display. I believe it was the first computer manufactured in Australia, where it was known as the Dulmont Magnum. This machine is included as a oddity, as one of the first clamshells – released in 1982/83 about the same time as the Grid Compass. I’m not claiming any ruggedness here. Various websites claim a 1982 launch, but the wikipedia site says it was launched “at a dealer breakfast in the Regent Hotel in Melbourne on the day that Australia won the America’s Cup.” – which would make it September 26th 1983. That would be the time Australia broke the 132 year American win-streak! The seventh race finished just before dawn in Australia, which led Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke to famously say “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum”
Edit: From old-computers.com:
“Chris Todter adds:
I was the engineering manager for this project. Most of the information is accurate, although it actually came out about 2 years earlier, and definitely pre-dated the Sharp 5000, and the HP-110.
The speed got up to 8MHz, and the display was up to 40 lines by the time the company folded. It also contained patented power saving features whereby it would put the processor to sleep between keystrokes. ”
…which would make it 1982.
From “Early Home Computers” “The Magnum was arguably the world’s first laptop computer, being enabled by a custom power management integrated circuit (ASIC) developed at the University of New South Wales in the late 1970’s by John Blair, who led the Dulmont Magnum design team at Dulmison in 1979-1980. The Magnum was marketed in Australia from 1981 to 1986, thus being developed and launched in parallel with the development of the Grid Compass”
… which would make it 1981. (Pinterest agrees! Kookaburra link)
Intel 16-bit 80186 processor
Dual 128K ROM cartridge slots
Full size 76 key keyboard
80 x 8 line LCD display
Ni-Cad battery – 2 hour run time
Integrated S/W suite including word-processor (Magwriter) and spreadsheet (Magcalc) Address/phone book (M/S Dos compatible)