Around 1978 Owen Hill teamed up with an electronic components company, Applied
Technology of Hornsby (Sydney), to build a small computer he had designed. It was based on
a Zilog Z80 with up to 32 Kbytes of RAM plus 32 Kbytes of ROM holding Microworld Australia
Basic, a TV display of 16 lines by 64 characters, and they sold it as a kit.
The Microbee flew - the range was extended and several hundred thousand were made
during the 1980s. It was sold to Australian schools and exported to Sweden and Russia.
Microbee was overtaken by the PC avalanche and went out of business in the late 1980s.
Dominic Santars wrote to ACMS about his Microbee:
|It was a wonderful machine, which had a unique feature that is rarely
mentioned: the non-disk based version's RAM (8, 16 or 32 Kb) was entirely battery-backed
CMOS. It also had software on EPROM such as a Word Processor and Telecommunications
No doubt for me (at age fourteen), as for many others, it started a
An excellent Microbee
archive exists with photos, technical information and offers to assist enthusiasts.