About Us 

Don and Cheryl at Midway in Berrimah, NT

Hello and welcome to my world of colourisation!

My name is Don McKenzie, and I have a passion for bringing history to life through the art of colourisation. I believe that adding colour to historical black and white photographs provides a fresh perspective, conveying the emotions and atmosphere of the time period and making the images more relatable, dynamic, and interesting for the viewer.

I am dedicated to creating stunning images that capture the essence of a bygone era. I use my technical expertise to infuse historical photographs with vivid colours that bridge the gap between the past and the present, making history more accessible and meaningful.

I take pride in the quality of my work, which is now available in extremely high resolution. My images can be printed out at 4000 pixels wide, which is four feet seven inches without any loss of resolution.

Additionally, I offer free copying for any non-commercial project, making my images accessible to all who want to bring history to life in their own unique way.

There are only two limitations when it comes to my colourised photographs:
1) You can reproduce them for personal use, but selling them for profit is not permitted.
2) Do not remove the watermark credits from our colourised images.

Obtaining my written permission is a requirement for reselling or making any alterations to these images.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my passion for colourisation. I hope my work inspires you to see history in a new light and appreciate the power of colour to add depth and meaning to the past.

Written September 2023 by Don McKenzie.
It has been 45 years since I initiated the challenge for ownership of  Australia's first personal computer. Given the absence of any substantiated counterclaims and my continued possession of this computer, I believe I am correct in stating that I purchased Australia's first-ever Personal Computer in March 1978. When 4K ROM and 4K RAM was more than enough.

December 2023
Recently, The Australian Computer Museum Society (ACMS) reached out to me regarding my TRS-80 Model One, which appears to be the first true Personal Computer (PC) sold in Australia. This took place in March 1978. In light of its historical significance, I've decided to donate it to ACMS, and they have graciously accepted it.

We take great pride in our daughters, Penny (Melbourne) and Sharon (Darwin), and it's evident that their father's love for computers has left its mark on them.

Both of them contributed their skills to Dontronics during our working years before we retired. Penny pursued her dream of becoming an interior designer, and as a mature-age student, she dedicated herself to earning her Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration. Over the past five years, she has been deeply involved in more than 180 design and installation projects, showcasing her expertise and unwavering commitment to delivering outstanding results. She has now ventured into a new realm where the boundaries between imagination and reality become blurred. Cutting-edge technology allows you not only to conceptualise but also to experience the finished product before it takes shape. To truly grasp this, you have to witness it. Photorealistic Renders eliminate guesswork, especially in Kitchen and Bathroom design.

Now, Sharon has joined Penny as her Editor and Publisher, and they have just launched their 150-page eBook titled "Your Complete Kitchen Renovation Guide and Planner." You can explore their work visiting their website by clicking on the image below:

Google Site Search
Photo Selector Photo 0800-

My Darwin Connections

Updated 1-Oct-2021
I have been going up to Darwin for 30+ years, as I have children and grand children up there.
I actually had a great grand son there as well, but he decided to go to QLD because of his father's job. Then before we could even visit, he decided to go to NSW.

With the Covid lock-down, we organized for all of our descendants to meet in August in Darwin, but the lock-downs didn't allow that to happen.

We did manage to spend time with our Melbourne daughter and grand daughter in Darwin, something we couldn't even do in Melbourne.

For the last 20 years, we have lived in Darwin for a month each year. Prior to that it my have been 2 weeks a year.

Have actually been up there twice this year, believe it or not, yes even with Covid. We had to isolate and test on our last return trip to Melbourne. Was there for January for a month, and August for a month.

My Rainbow Connections.

My connection to Rainbow Vic Australia is fairly deep. My father was born there (also Don McKenzie). My wife Cheryl was born there, as were my two daughters. I was married in Rainbow. I lived and worked in Rainbow for a number of years. My Grand father George McKenzie arrived in town about 1919. He had a steam engine operators license, and drove in the original piles for the Albycutya timber bridge. After that contract expired, he worked at the Rainbow flour mills, as they were steam operated. He then went onto to be a foreman for Tom Ismay, a local building contractor, a position he held for many years.

I worked for my Uncle Joe McKenzie, followed by the Yaapeet Gypsum mines, then C and D McKenzie (my uncle and father ) Don Hope, McKenzie Woodhall and Chapple, McKenzie and Woodhall, then back to Joe.

When first married we lived in the tin shed on the corner of Gray and Taverner Streets Rainbow. We had a chip heater, and a kero fridge. I remember putting in a hot water system that Len Petschel gave us. We had a pan toilet system at the back of the block, right on McKenzie Lane of course. Named after my grand father George. Today, this block is part of the sewerage treatment plant, and the block was originally owned by Jack Johns.

I had numerous jobs when I returned back to Melbourne in 1968.


1955 - 1958 Essendon Technical School and RAAF School Cadet

My first ever flight was in an Avro Lincoln Bomber at the RAAF base in Sale Victoria in 1956.
Weapons fired during service: Lee-Enfield 303, Thompson sub-machine gun, Smith and Wesson .38 revolver. I remember carrying the 303 on a bus to school. I doubt if that would happen today.

Top Marks at school. Diploma entrance standard, but parents couldn't afford Uni. I had to get a job.


1958 - 1961 Taught Ballroom Dancing.

I taught teenage classes of ballroom dancing for Bon Gibbon's Dance Academy in Buckley Street Essendon for 3 years. I even had a few shots at the Victorian State Championships at the Melbourne Town Hall. Never won anything, but gave it a shot.


1959 - 1961 Army Citizens Military Forces (CMF)

Weapons fired during service: Lee-Enfield 303, Sten-Gun, New SLR introduced to replace 303, Owen submachine gun.
Two years service. A lot of fun. When I was employed as a PMG trainee, I also got Army pay when on on duty. Double pay.


1964 - McKenzie Woodhall and Chapple Electrical Contractors Rainbow Victoria.

The link below will to take you to the Rainbow Electrician's story of the 1960s, where I played a very prominent part.


1962-1968 - Rainbow Fire Brigade.

Don McKenzie Bottom right. Foreman, and hydrant man. Great memories.
Photo Gavin Brain. 1965

1968 to 1970 - Taxi Driver.

When I came back to Melbourne, I drove taxis on what we called a hungry shift. 5PM to 5AM, 7 days a week. I did that for two years. My wife Cheryl joined the very first bunch of female Taxi Drivers during this time.


1970-1972 - Radio Room Operator.

Having won over the Silver top Taxi Radio room manager, I was invited to join the staff in the radio room. I ended up working three shifts on three different jobs at one stage. Silver Top Taxis in Carlton, Yellow Cabs in South Melbourne, and City Towing in Collingwood. Now there is a long boring story about how we shuffled shifts to make this 24 hour 7 days a week rotation work, but I also managed to drive Taxis in my spare time during this period.

Up until recently, we had a Christmas lunch radio room reunion on a regular basis in Melbourne.
 I now believe I am the last man standing so to speak, so there are no more lunches. 🙁


1976 to 1999 My years with ATL-TAB

I spent nearly a quarter of a century working for ATL, a company that eventually became known as TAB in Victoria. In 2010, I wrote about my experiences there, but it was not a polished piece and I never completed it. Reflecting on it now, I would rate it as a 4 out of 10.

I began my tenure at ATL as a tote machine floor mechanic, but quickly advanced to the role of Senior Computer Systems Engineer. I was responsible for computer operations at the Melbourne Cup for many years. I found it easy to learn about computers and after taking a course at RMIT, I realized I was even teaching the instructors. I received a certificate and moved on.

During my time at ATL, I always felt like I was working for the race club rather than the company. If the tote machines were down, the club would suffer. I sometimes prioritized the club's needs over my company's responsibilities. This may not have been the best move for my career, but it led to some memorable moments such as when I had to change a computer power supply during a Melbourne Cup race while heavy betting was taking place. I had a representative from the club on one shoulder and a representative from the company on the other, but I politely asked them both to step aside so I could fix the issue.

I thoroughly enjoyed working for the tote machines in the early years, but things began to deteriorate as the company transitioned to TAB. I felt like I was just a number and they attempted to force a long service award on me in the form of an inscribed Omega watch worth $2000. A few of my colleagues felt the same way and we rejected the award. They still made us attend a special presentation just to check a box. I still have the watch, but it sits in a case and I wear a FitBit now.

Eventually, I found an opportunity to double my income through an internet business and I left the company at the age of 56. It was a bold move, but one that I never regretted. My internet business, Dontronics, was successful for 22 years.

1978 - Did Don have the first Personal Computer in Australia?

Many years ago, I set up a page and a challenge,  to test if I was the first person in Australia (March 1978) to own what is considered today, A Personal Computer (PC). Check out my findings.

Written September 2023 by Don McKenzie.
It has been 45 years since I initiated the challenge for ownership of  Australia's first personal computer. Given the absence of any substantiated counterclaims and my continued possession of this computer, I believe I am correct in stating that I purchased Australia's first-ever Personal Computer in March 1978. When 4K ROM and 4K RAM was more than enough.

December 2023
Recently, The Australian Computer Museum Society (ACMS) reached out to me regarding my TRS-80 Model One, which appears to be the first true Personal Computer (PC) sold in Australia. This took place in March 1978. In light of its historical significance, I've decided to donate it to ACMS, and they have graciously accepted it.


1980 - Computerized Morse Code Generator for the Australian Department Of Communications


My TRS-80 computer generated all the 5, 10, and 20 WPM Morse Code that was used for Novice, Ham, and Marine Morse Code receiving tests by the Australian Department Of Communications from around 1980 to 1986. This was previously done by a punch tape machine, and when I was asked if I could program a computer to do this, I said of course I can. That is the sort of thing that computers are designed to do. I soon found out that you can't get accurate timing for long periods using the basic language built into this machine, so I had to learn Z80 machine code damn fast.

I eventually had to tell DOC that I wanted to drop this contract, as the repetitive nature of the input strings really drove me mad. It was around the time they shifted headquarters from Melbourne to Canberra, so I suggested they get some one to re-write the software on a 80286 AT-PC, as the TRS-80 was getting very dated, and I was involved in too many other projects of my own at the time.



1980- 1990s - Wrote many articles in Electronics Australia, Silicon Chip Magazines and many others.


I was involved with several computer user groups, and pioneered many on the internet when it came of age. Just two of them in this image.

To drum up traffic in these days, I held a Dontronics Electronics Logo design contest as follows: First Prize $500USD, Second Prize $250USD, Third Prize $100USD

It was a different world, and I held the cards. Unfortunately everybody caught up with me. The equivalent is eBay these days, and every man and his dog is in the competition.


Here are just some of the boring highlights for technical people:

PBUFF
A few years into the TRS-80, I designed a printer buffer based on the Z80. Printers of the day had no memory, so when you went to print a large document, your PC was completely tied up during the print. PBUFF was a printer buffer that could be configured from 8K to 4Mb of DRAM. Hardware memory interfacing was done with only a single 74LS00 and a 74LS04. The magic was achieved with software and no hardware multiplexing was used. To my knowledge, I am the only person that was able to achieve this result. We actually tested the design with 64Mb of memory, but the printer design world had caught up with me, and it became obsolete.

PBUFF sold over 4000 units world wide, well before the internet was known.

Reference:
Electronics Australia Magazine Apr-94
Silicon Chip Magazine Oct-89
Australian Electronics Jan-88 (PBUFF memory secrets revealed.)
Australian Electronics Mar-87

ZLOAD
This was a development board based on PBUFF, that allowed a fast download of assembled Z80 machine code to the target board. Required no EPROM burning, and started instantly. Similar development systems of the day, started at several hundred dollars.
Reference: Electronics Australia Magazine Apr-94

Z8TBASIC
I recompiled 8080 Tiny Basic into Z80 code, then added the I/O routines to make it tick on my ZLOAD development board. Meant you could write a Basic language program, test it, then burn it into an EPROM when completed.

TRI-colour LED moving message board.
Silicon Chip Magazine Mar-89 Part 1, Silicon Chip Magazine Apr-89 Part 2,
Silicon Chip Magazine May-89 Part 3, Silicon Chip Magazine Jun-89 Part 4


1993 - First On-line Transactions CBA Bank.


When I found I could post a photo of a product on the internet with Microsoft Windows, I built a shopping cart from a public domain JavaScript program I found with my new search engine "Alta-Vista". I made a few modifications to this program, and we had Dontronics on-line.

After applying to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to be a merchant, we started selling with a manual credit card system in 1993.

I spoke with the CBA about an on-line system, as I had seen some overseas merchants with these facilities. They had no idea what I was talking about at this point. It took maybe another 12 months, and a lot of pushing before we were truly an on-line shopping cart.

We had four different shopping carts over the years, so it was always evolving, as we had to keep ahead of security and software version updates.


2000 - Australian Taxation Office. What are you doing Don?


Australia was about to introduce a new "Goods and Services Tax" (GST) in July of 2000, and I was constantly on the phone to the "Australian Tax Office"  trying to get tax rulings clarified for my business.

I told them I was selling software, which is nothing physical. It is basically a file, that is distributed over the internet, and I may be sourcing it in Romania, and selling it in the Antarctic.

Then I may buy physical hardware goods in Hong Kong, and sell them in the UK.

And of course there is a mixture of these goods sent from, or arriving in Australia, that could be either hardware or software, or both.

They had so much trouble understanding the transaction types involved, that we agreed to a meeting at my home in February of 2000, so we could look at the range of transactions that could take place on the internet, and how GST may be applied. They sent out two officers from their GST department.

After a lot of mutual head nodding, and agreement, they went back to the office, and eventually sent me back a copy of the Tax Rulings that would be applied to my business, and what they were moving forward with under the new GST rulings.

Of course, even these rules are still evolving with 10% GST now being applied to some imports. Glad I don't have to keep up with it now.



2018 - Melbourne Cup November 2018


Yesterday, on Melbourne Cup day, I got a report from the technical staff in the TAB computer room at Flemington racecourse, that a software program I wrote 25 years ago to monitor the correct operation of communication channels between on-course selling terminals and the Computer systems, was still being used successfully.

This year will be the last time, as next year they will be using new terminals with a completely new system.

Thanks for the feedback Viv and Mick. Nice to know something I designed 25 years ago, was still being used 19 years after I retired.

See the picture of Donmon in action at the Melbourne Cup 2018. Running under DOS before Windows was ever thought of, and written in 8088 Machine Code. Unbelievable.

Don...


2021 - August Covid-19 escape to Darwin.


I consider we have been very lucky this year. While Covid runs rampant in the southern states, we have been lucky enough to escape to the Northern Territory in Australia, where we have a daughter and two grand sons. We managed if for the month of January, and now again in August. Two months out of lock-down. No masks, no social distancing.

Found a Latin-American coffee spot in Mitchell street. that do a really good coffee at a great price.

Yes, I have been dropping weight, but feeling good. Not sure about going back home to Melbourne right now. We could stay a little longer, but I guess we will have to bite the bullet and hope that things get better down south.

22-Feb-2024 - Our 60th Wedding Anniversary in Darwin.

Today marks a truly special occasion for us. Six decades ago, we exchanged vows in Rainbow, Victoria, setting the foundation for our enduring bond.

With two daughters, Penny (and Paul) residing in Melbourne and Sharon calling Darwin home, our family roots have spread fairly wide. Over the past 34 years, we've embraced Darwin not merely as tourists but as avid explorers, discovering its charms and complexities.

We have four Grand Children, Leesa (and Shane), Niamh, Eilee, and Flynn, and a great grandson Eli.

Don and Cheryl...

23-Feb-2024 - We thank our family and friends.

We extend a heartfelt thank you to all who showered us with well wishes on our 60th wedding anniversary yesterday.

The outpouring of congratulations, both privately and across various Facebook groups, was truly overwhelming, making it a challenge to respond to each one individually.

Discovering the connections between Rainbow Victoria and Darwin added an intriguing dimension to the celebrations, reminding us of the interconnectedness of our world.
A special expression of gratitude goes to the wonderful Amelia Huang from the Nightcliff Foreshore Cafe and Andrew Kritikos from ZEN Apartments Management Darwin for their thoughtful gifts.

And to our daughter Sharon, thank you for the beautiful flowers.

Don and Cheryl...

Photo taken at Fiddlers Green restaurant Darwin waterfront. This was shut for 2 months having air-con upgrades and opened the day before our anniversary.

Don McKenzie

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