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Roger Clarke's 'Australian Web History'

The Golden Year of 1993:
The Take-Off of the Web in Australia

Review Draft of 27 April 2010

SUPERSEDED BY the version of 12 Dec 2012 (and prior to that of 19 Jan 2012)

Roger Clarke **

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The World Wide Web arrived just as connections to the Internet were broadening from academe to the public generally. It supported user-performed publishing, discoverability of content and access to documents, in both textual and graphical forms. The web-browser was the 'killer app' associated with the explosion of the Internet into the wider world. Australians were 'early movers' in applying the Web. This document traces the story of the Web in Australia from its beginnings in 1992, up to 1995, identifying key players and what they did, but set within the broader context.


1. Introduction

This paper summarises available information about the early years of the the World Wide Web in Australia. In order to set the scene, it first reviews services of similar kinds that pre-date the launch of the Web, and the initial phases of the Web as a whole.

This paper is a companion to the author's 'Origins and Nature of the Internet in Australia' (Clarke 2004). That paper still appears to be the primary source of information on that topic, although it has now been joined by an official court-history of AARNet (Korporaal 2009).

2. Precursors to the Web

This section briefly reviews the context into which the World Wide Web was launched. The Web depended on the existence of telecommunications networks, protocols to enable the transfer of data over those networks, and software that implemented the protocols. Some of the 'precursors' listed below pre-dated the Web and were known to its developers, whereas others were closely parallel developments.

(1) Data Networks

Long-distance ('tele') communications have been in use, in some sense at least, for centuries. The early forms of telegraph were optical (such as smoke-signals and semaphore). Electrical, electro-mechanical and electronic forms emerged during the nineteenth century, with widespread telegraphic services from the 1860s, and telephone networks for the human voice from the 1880s. The telex network, which used (tele-)typewriters for input and output, dominated message-transmission from the mid-1930s.

By the 1960s, the public switched telephone network dominated, but many sets of dedicated connections were used to transfer data and transactions. Many of those were what are now called private networks, operated within a single organisation. Some of them were operated by service-providers (often called Value-Added Network suppliers or VANs), which carried traffic for their customers. In addition to the large, formal networks, individuals and small organisations harnessed dial-up lines to create bulletin-board systems (BBS), commencing as early as 1978.

From the 1960s onwards, a new approach emerged, whereby segments of the network did not need to be committed to a single user-organisation. In packet-switched networks, messages are interleaved, so that the available capacity can be shared among many users. An Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) movement arose. It produced elegant standards, but did so through slow, bureaucratic processes, and delivered networks that operated relatively slowly. Meanwhile, a US academic project, the ARPANet, which operated from 1969 until the mid-1980s, fostered a more pragmatic approach that proved to be sufficiently reliable and much more nimble.

From 1983, the core protocols of the Internet Protocol Suite, IP and TCP, became available. TCP/IP provided a means for existing networks to talk to one another (although, over the years, the protocols have come to be used within most networks as well as between them). The Internet quickly emerged within academe, initially in the USA, but with tentacles reaching out to other countries. By 1993, the scale of this 'network of networks' was vast, and both its funding and its accessibility quickly expanded to the government and business sectors and to individuals, and its geographical spread widened still further. Use of the telex network collapsed from the 1980s to the mid-1990s, as email quickly became widely accessible.

(2) File-Transfer

One application of data networks was the transfer of files, of many kinds. An important means of doing this was the file transfer protocol (FTP), introduced in 1985 (Ciolek 1998). It continues to be widely-used in 2010. Some types of files, e.g. executable software, were not intended for the human eye. On the other hand, many files were intended to be printed or displayed in a form directly usable by people.

(3) Mark-Up

Documents that are intended for the human eye may be transmitted in a fixed format that suits that need, such as proprietary word-processing formats (or, now, an international-standard format, ODF), or PDF.

There are benefits, however, in separating the structure and content of a document, on the one hand, from its presentation, on the other. In order to render (e.g. display or print) such a document, a device needs to run software that can interpret the structure and content, and render it in manner that suits the device and user. This enables one source-document to be displayed on devices with very different characteristics, such as a desktop with a very large colour screen and a handheld with a small grey-scale screen. It also copes with circumstances in which standards change (e.g. for documents that are important for a period longer than any particular word-processing format is current).

The way in which the structure is conveyed is commonly by means of meta-symbols, in much the same way in which editors passed their detailed instructions on to type-setters throughout the Gutenberg era. This activity was referred to as 'marking up' the source-document, and hence the general term used in the area is 'mark-up'.

Early forms were developed in the 1960s (RUNOFF and troff), and in parallel in the 1970s (TeX and GML). A research project c. 1980, Scribe, clarified the key feaure of separation of content, structure and presentation. By the mid-1980s, a standard had emerged called Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which was highly extensible. and resulted in many specialised sets of tags for marking up documents.

(4) File-Search and -Discovery

File-transfer services were intended to enable the right file to end up on the right device. But someone needed to know which file to transfer, and from where to where. An important element of extracting value from networks was therefore the discovery of relevant files. Progress was made initially with the discovery of files that contained text, and the techniques developed in that area were applied to 'meta-data' describing files containing other kinds of content, such as images, sound, video, structured data and software.

Text-indexing dates back many centuries, with the first Bible concordance prepared in the thirteenth century. Free-text search software was developed during the 1960s, and was a well-established method in the 1970s, with products such as Status and STAIRS providing indexes and search facilities across very large text-databases. The software was originally designed to be used within a single site, but the searches could be submitted, and the results received, over networks.

In 1990, Archie was released by Peter Deutsch of MacGill University in Canada. It was a tool for indexing FTP archives, allowing people to find specific files - "an archipelago of scattered FTP archives is melded into a coherent, distributed information system" (Ciolek 1999). Hence, in 1990, Archie was arguably the first Internet search engine.

In April 1991, Gopher was released by a team at the University of Minnesota. It provided a free text search mechanism across multiple collections of textual data, and was specifically designed for use on the Internet. It had a strongly hierarchical style, based on nested menus. Veronica was a search-engine across multiple gopher servers developed in 1992 at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Also in April 1991, WAIS (Wide Area Information Servers) was developed by Brewster Kahle of Thinking Machines Co. It provided an indexing and a powerful, structured search mechanism for text-files stored on networks. In retrospect, some downsides of what appeared at the time to be the breakthrough technology were that WAIS required registration in a central catalogue using structured metadata, and did not have a mechanism for automatic discovery of new sites or new files.

A review of these file-search and -discovery mechanisms is in Ciolek (1998). They pre-date by several years the search-engines that later came to dominate Web-usage - Altavista from 1995, and Google from 1998-99.

(5) Navigation using Hypertext

The notion of hypermedia originated in 1945 with Vennevar Bush's 'memex' idea for linking information by association. It was described in some detail by Ted Nelson in 1965, as a means of linking documents into a web of relationships. The term 'hypertext' was applied to the more limited case in which the documents were in the form of text-only. Many partial implementations of hypertext and hypermedia ideas were prototyped through the 1970s and 1980s, although none broke through into the mainstream.

3. The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web emerged between 1989 and 1992, within the intellectual context described in the previous section. It began as a means of making documents readily discoverable and transferrable over networks, and conveniently displayable to the user on their own computing device. (Subsequent developments are outlined in section 5 below). The Web uses a very simple form of hyperlink, referred to as a hotlink. The organisational setting within which it was developed was a scientific laboratory, specifically the CERN particle physics laboratory near Geneva.

The following sections provide an outline of the timeline over which the several elements emerged that needed to mature in order to support what we now know as 'the Web'. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but in intended as a means of seting the scene for the emergence of the Web in Australia, which is described in section 4 below. The description draws on multiple sources, including CERN(1992a), Berners-Lee (1999), W3C (2000), Gillies & Cailliau (2000), together with Deja Vu (2000) and a variety of other such informal sources.

The first sub-section addresses the needs for files to be stored on servers, and protocols to be defined, and implemented in software, to enable those files to be downloaded to other devices. The second sub-section considers the format in which the files needed to be expressed to enable software in the remote devices to render the content into a form conveniently readable by humans.

(1) The Protocol and Web-Servers

In March 1989, an Englishman called Tim Berners Lee wrote a proposal to CERN management. He tried again in May 1990, but again no approval was forthcoming. Berners Lee was joined in the latter part of 1990 by Belgian Robert Cailliau, and in October 1990, Berners Lee coined the term 'World Wide Web' and began writing code on his new NeXT computer (Berners Lee 1999, p. 28). By the end of 1990 a prototype server and protocol existed (p. 30), and in May 1991 a production version was released within CERN. The design enabled access to data in a native format (HTML) but also in plain text (ASCII). Its native protocol was Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), but it also supported FTP. The data could be managed by a web-server, or stored in a variety of other kinds of repositories.

In December 1991, the first server outside CERN was installed by particle physicist Paul Kunz at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Shortly afterwards, in January 1992, the first promotion outside CERN occurred: "At [a workshop in La Londe, France], Tim Berners-Lee gave the first demo of the Web outside of the CERN laboratory. The attendance of the workshop was about 200 physicists from around the world" (Festa 2001).

By August 1992, "There [were] about 20 Web servers in existence" (WVL 2008, but attributed to Ciolek (1999). In a document dated 3 November 1992, 26 servers were listed, in 12 countries (CERN 1992b). During the early years all servers used variants of the original software (called httpd). In February 1995, the Apache server appeared. It still dominates in 2010, although a number of commercial products are also available.

The growth in server-numbers was very rapid from 1993 onwards, and the number of files and the count of accesses was as well. There were something over 200 servers in October 1993 growing to 100,000 in January 1996, 650,000 in January 1997 and 4.3 million in March 1999 (Ciolek 1999). A long-running survey of web-servers is at Netcraft (2010).

(2) Formats and Browsers

The native format in which files were intended to be expressed was called Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). It was a greatly simplified version of the well-established and extremely complex Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). This included 'tags', which provided guidance to the browser on how to structure, and to present, the text. The language included the 'hotlink' notion, which is a very limited form of hyperlink (Cailliau & Assman (1999).

Although it was open-ended, initially the service delivered only text: "[At the end of 1991,] the only graphical browser available was for the NeXT machines, which were not that popular. I think there were fewer than 100,000 sold. Everybody else had a line-mode browser. And Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau were too busy promoting the Web to write a graphical browser for Unix" (Festa 2001, quoting Paul Kunz).

In April 1992, Viola was released by Pei Wei at University of California at Berkeley. It was claimed to be the first publicly available web browser with inline graphics, scripting, tables and stylesheet. In October 1992, the Lynx browser was developed by a team at the University of Kansas. This is a text-only browser, which has ongoing value for multiple purposes and was for some years the primary vehicle for the sight-impaired.

From late 1992, through 1993 and into 1994, Marc Andreesen and others worked on a generic graphical browser at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. A Wikipedia article says that "Development of Mosaic began in December 1992". Versions of Mosaic were released, first as "version 0.5 on January 23, 1993" (Stewart 2000), or February 1993 (W3C 2000), and then in successive versions through 1993, including version 1.0 on 22 April (according to the Wikipedia article).

Mosaic "broke away from the small pack of existing browsers by including features -- like icons, bookmarks, a more attractive interface, and pictures -- that made the software easy to use and appealing to 'non-geeks'" (NCSA 2009). In conversation in 2010, Matthew Ciolek nicely summarised two critical factors about the Web that caused him to convert his already-substantial public electronic library to the Web at the beginning of 1994: "It was the first time that no tech support was needed to publish documents. You just needed an account [and some capability with HTML editing]", and "the visibility of the HTML source-code for each page enabled the appropriation of code, templates and techniques" and hence facilitated rapid dissemination of skills.

In 1994, Marc Andreessen left NCSA, and further developed the browser-software. It was released as Netscape on 13 October 1994. Mosaic and then Netscape were closely associated with a period of explosive growth in use of the Web.

4. The Web in Australia

Considerable scope for ambiguity exists in relation to the idea of 'the first web-site in Australia'. A site could be launched but only as a place-holder rather than rich in content. Some sites may have been of only local or experimental interest, and may or may not have been registered with CERN and/or NCSA. Even if registered, they may have been registered some time after launch. The intention of this section is to provide an overview of the information that has come to light during sporadic research conducted between 1998 and 2010.

(1) Preparations

From the early-to-mid 1970s, Australia had many private networks, a significant number of VANs sold services, and the Australian Computer Science discipline operated the ACSnet network to link relevant Departments. Personal contacts were developed and sustained between various Australians and the US developers of first ARPANet and then the Internet.

As explained in Clarke (2004), Australia gained a direct connection to the Internet in 1989. By 1992, there was accordingly a fairly small but well-established and highly capable community of people in academe with the technical capability to use and develop Internet facilities.

It is likely that some of the small community of Australian particle physicists visited CERN during 1992-93, but no information has come to light identifying any individual in that community who was active at that stage even as a user let alone as the operator of a server. It is not clear whether Viola gained much use in Australia, although Lynx was definitely in evidence in the mid-1990s.

However, it is clear that a few people in Australia knew of developments at CERN and NCSA during 1992. Although no evidence has come to light of contributions by particle physicists, Australia's rather larger super-computing community had ongoing contacts with NCSA. Two relevant visits that are known to have occurred were by social scientist Matthew Ciolek, who went to CERN to meet with Robert Cailliau on 31 August 1992 (Ciolek 1998), and by astrophysicist Ray Norris who saw Web-related developments during a visit to NCSA in October 1992.

(2) The First Web-Sites

The evidence that has come to light points to David Green's Bioinformatics site, at , as the first 'official' web-server in Australia. It appears to have been established in the period June to October 1992. David says that his claim is "for the simple reason that when I registered it with CERN and with NCSA, no other Australian servers were on their lists" (Green 2001). As there were no Australian servers are in the list of 3 November 1992 (CERN 1992b), Green's site would appear to have been registered in late 1992 or early 1993.

Two other pioneers have identified themselves. Computer scientist Rik Harris advised in December 2001 that "I set up my first web server in August 1992 when Tim Berners-Lee asked me to do a hypertext version of my Computer Science Technical Reports archive at (which doesn't exist any more). I was discussing the format of search term URLs (can you have two ?'s in a URL?) with Marc Andreessen in February 1993 when xmosaic wasn't able to properly access my databases. I definitely had the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine web server then (". At 1 July 1993, VIFP was the second of only two .au entries on the 100-strong list of registered servers (Berners Lee 1993).

Also, astrophysicist Ray Norris advised that, in October 1992, "I visited NCSA and was shown their beta-version Mosaic. I got very excited about it, and on my return home we installed a web server at the Radiophysics Lab here in Sydney, and became (I think) the second web site in Australia".

[However, Mosaic itself appears not to have been available, even within NCSA, until January 1993.]

Green advised that "by early 1993 ... [his bio-informatics site] was one of the largest [registered on the official lists with CERN and NCSA] with several hundred pages and thousands of hits per day". Tellingly, he also said "At first I didn't do much with it, just experimented because it was text only. It was only when NCSA brought out their hypermedia browser Mosaic late in 1992 that I saw any real point in pursuing it. Prior to that Gopher had been the better medium".

[I've not seen any documents that mentioned Mosaic being available in any form in 1992, and the Wikipedia article (unsupported on this point by any citation) says that development only began in December 1992. See also the 1992-93 entries in That accords with my own memories of the state of play in mid-1993. An NCSA page listing versions and features, which is linked to from the Wikipedia article, indicates that commencement was even later, in June 1993; but this appears to be unlikely to be correct.]

Further, Green says that "No other sites registered themselves until well into 1993. If I recall correctly Jim Croft set up his site at the [National] Botanic Gardens early in 1993 after we discussed the possibilities and Mike Greenhalgh set up his Art History site around mid 1993 after we gave him a demo" (Green 2001).

Michael Greenhalgh's Artserve was first released on the NCSA site at the University of Illinois, no later than 15 June 1993. It was repatriated to the ANU within a few months, and continues to be accessible at its original URL. It gained Honourable Mentions in the (overwhelmingly US) 'Best of the Web Awards' announced at the first International W3 Conference in Geneva on 26 May 1994, for both Education and Best Use of Multiple Media (beaten by Le Louvre).

Jim Croft's Australian National Botanical Gardens (ANBG) site was announced on 8 July 1993 (Croft 1993). It appears to have been subsequently registered by NCSA as at 6 July 1993. The organisation understood the significance of what it was doing, because it's 1993-94 Annual Report said "In July 1993, the ANBG released its World Wide Web server to the Internet, supplementing the Gopher information server release the previous year. This new server integrates the Gopher information and is the fastest growing information protocol in the world today. The ANBG was the first botanic gardens and herbarium to make information available this way".

A further contribution in the humanities was James Farrow's Shakespeare web-site, The Works of the Bard, which he claims to have launched in October 1993 and certainly by 15 November 1993 (Farrow 1998), and which is still at the original domain, as well as

During 1993, the acquisition by probably some hundreds of Australians of copies of Netscape gave considerable impetus to both web-usage and the creation of web-servers and material to load up on them. (My own first experiment with the Web as a teaching-medium was in an ANU MBA class in August 1993. However, in my Networkshop paper in November 1993, the only reference I made to it was this: "If the services are attractive enough (and such facilities as gopher, World-Wide-Web and X-Mosaic might well satisfy that requirement), it may prove feasible to charge fees approaching those of commercial value-added networks" - Clarke 1993). Tony Barry's paper at the same conference showed a much greater appreciation of the impact that the Web was to have (Barry 1993).

A November 1993 version of the register, at Mason (1993) lists the following:

In December 1993, the register of Australian web-servers operated by David Green for NCSA, for many years at, showed only nine, five of them at ANU  (Barry & Stanton 1994, with the individuals who were primarily responsible interpolated by this author):

These were quickly followed by Matthew Ciolek's Coombsweb, which was a migration of a substantial collection that had been available worldwide by other means since September 1991. "At the time of its launch (25 Jan 1994) Coombsweb was ... the 850th site in the world ... The Asian Studies sites managed or supervised by Matthew Ciolek remain an important part of the VL, as well as being now the oldest" (WVL 2008). Ciolek confirmed in 2010 that the claim of being "the 850th site in the world" was based on an inspection of the CERN register at the time.

No exhaustive search has been undertaken, but the first government agency web-site that has been identified was PIENet, by the then Department of Primary Industry and Energy (DPIE) - whose contemporary equivalent is the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). The Internet Archive, which commenced only in 1996, shows a copy at 23 December 1996, which includes the statement that PIENet was established on 22 December 1994.

[More is needed on the contributions of librarians to the promotion of the Web (and its predecessors and competitors.]

[What conference proceedings can be raided for more insights? I need:

[It would be valuable to compare early contributions in Australia with those from other countries. This would require access to the successive issues of the register run by CERN and NCSA during 1992-94; but to date very few snapshots have been located.]

(3) The Explosion Post-1993

By the beginning of 1994, the Internet and hence the Web were increasingly accessible from outside academe. Barry & Stanton (1994) catalogues 10 Commonwealth government agencies with web-servers, some of them with several. In the broader community, Railpage Australia and New Zealand, originally implemented in 1992 using a different format, was converted to a web-site in July 1994, and claimed to be among the first 100 web sites to be hosted in Australia (Evans 2009).

(In August 1994, my own web-site preparations began, and I launched the site on which this paper is published in February 1995. As late as April 1995, however, a Senate Committee that considered the need for regulation of content reticulated over networks was oriented towards 'bulletin board systems' generally rather than the Web specifically - Clarke 1995).

Across the universities, the early movers were in a variety of different disciplines. Most encountered at least apathy, and a number were confronted by outright opposition from administrators. One common feature was that university librarians played important roles in stimulating adoption. They had initiated a movement commonly referred to as Campus Wide Information Systems (CWIS). This predated the Web's emergence, because gopher appeared to offer an excellent basis for providing remote access to text and the discovery of text. During 1993-94, the CWIS efforts rapidly converted across to the increasingly popular, multi-media Web service (CAUL 1995).

By the beginning of 1995, the significance of the Web had come to be widely appreciated, e.g. Kerry Webb advised me of an ACT Government site in support of a March 1995 by-election. From 1995 onwards, the Web exploded, with rapid adoption as a publication medium, and large numbers of individuals installing the quickly-improving web-browser software to gain access to the content. "[In mid-1997,] every University in Australia has at least one World Wide Web server and a 'home page'" (Debreceny 1997).

The rapid growth that commenced in 1993 demonstrated that critical mass had been achieved. The critical factors appear to have been an environment in which lay-people could publish conveniently, quickly and inexpensively, combined with the motivation to do so because other people were publishing, and the pooling of resources was perceived to be valuable for all concerned. (This paper is witness to the productivity that arises from ready discoverability and accessibility. The first draft - containing about 90% of the review draft - was researched and written in 7 hours, on 18 April 2010).

(4) The Longest-Running Servers

A further question of interest concerns the oldest still-available and/or continuously-available web-sites in Australia. As at April 2010, the contenders appear to be:

The longest-available web-site for an institution appears to be La Trobe University (since 9 March 1994). ADFA's site (using the ACSNet domain-name was launched 4 weeks earlier, but was later migrated to, and site is no longer accessible via the original domain-name.

Fittingly, the longest-available site for an Australian company appears to be Xanadu, since 19 April 1994. This is Ted Nelson's company, which dates to 1960, 1965, 1981 or 1983, depending on the preferred definition.

The longest-running government agency site detected to date is PIENet, at It ran from 22 December 1994 until May 2007, when the name allocation rules of the domain appear to have decreed that it be abandoned in favour of a name that reflected the agency's current title

5. Subsequent Developments

The Web was originally conceived as "a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents" (W3C 1992). Its functions were quickly extended, however, from displaying documents to conducting transactions. (Clarke 2002) shows how all of the additional features necessary to support eCommerce (the HTML forms feature, the HTTP POST method, CGI scripting and interfaces to the EFT/POS system) were in place by the fourth quarter of 1994.

Australia was an early adopter of these capabilities as well. The Internet Archive discloses that a proprietary shopping cart application, developed and used by the Harris Technologies, had reached a substantial level of sophistication by 22 December 1996. Subsequent extensions to the architecture of the original Web have been in such areas as 'Web services' and 'service-oriented architecture' (SOA). The inaugural Telstra/AFR Web Awards in 1996 included eCommerce nominations, and in subsequent years one or more separate classifications were established.

There is another way in which the Web has been significantly re-directed from its original role as a client-request / server-response protocol. In effect, the role of the 'server' has been progressively converted from service to control. Wired magazine displayed the first banner-ads, in October 1994, giving rise to the claim that "There will be billboards along the Information Superhighway" (Schrage 1994). There have been continual attempts to attract consumers to use for-profit 'portals', to put 'pay walls' around parts of the Web in order to fund content and services, and once having got control of consumers' eyes to keep them inside these 'walled gardens'. Multiple attempts have also been made to convert the Web from its inherently 'user-pull' orientation into a 'marketer-push' technology. Early versions of these developments were chronicled in Clarke (1999).

More recently, there have been concerted efforts to make browsers subsidiary to servers, by enabling servers to deliver code down to the user's device in order to control its behaviour, and through it to gain as much control as practicable of the consumer as well. Microsoft's highly permissive ActiveX technology lends itself to this, and changes made to Javascript and the HTTP protocol have extended the manipulation into non-Microsoft environments. The lofty-sounding ambitions declared for Web 2.0 have acted as a smoke-screen for deep-nested interference by servers with the operation of consumer devices (Clarke 2008).

6. Conclusions

The technology of the World Wide Web was created by particle physicists outside Geneva in 1990-93, as a convenient form of electronic publishing, featuring a limited but useful sub-set of hypertext ideas. By the end of the first explosive year, in 1993, the Web's promise had already been realised in Australia, by people in areas as diverse as bioinformatics, astrophysics, librarianship, computer science, the humanities (in particular art history) and the social sciences. That foundation ensured that Australia has been as active as any country in both content-contribution and content-consumption.


Barry A. (1993) 'Information Access - Technologies and Services' Proc. Networkshop'93, Melbourne, at

Barry A. & Stanton D. (1994) 'CWIS access' Australian Library Review 11, 1 (1994), at

Berners Lee T. (1993) 'Attention Server Administrators: are you on this list?' Email message, 1 July 1993, at

Berners Lee T. (1999) 'Weaving the Web', originally published 1999, republished in paperback by Harper Collins, 2000

Cailliau R. & Ashman H. (1999) 'Hypertext in the Web - a History' ACM Computing Surveys 31(4), December 1999, at

CAUL (1995) 'Summary of Campus-Wide Information Service (CWIS) Survey Results' Council of Australian University Librarians, 23 June 1995, at

CERN (1992a) 'History to date', CERN, 3 November 1992, at

CERN (1992b) 'W3 servers', CERN, 3 November 1992, at

Ciolek T.M. (1998) 'Asian Studies and the WWW: a Quick Stocktaking at the Cusp of two Millennia' Proc. Pacific Neighbourhood Consortium (PNC) Annual Meeting, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, 15-18 May 1998, at

Ciolek T.M. (1999) 'Global Networking: A Timeline' T. Matthew Ciolek, 1999, at

Clarke R. (1993) 'AARNet Economics: How to Avoid Cooking the Golden Goose' Proc. Networkshop'93, Melbourne, at

Clarke R. (1995) 'Background to the Technology and the Issues' Overheads for a Public Seminar on the Regulation of Bulletin Board Systems, Senate Select Committee on Community Standards Relevant to the Supply of Services Utilising Electronic Technologies, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, April 1995, at

Clarke R. (1999) 'The Willingness of Net-Consumers to Pay: A Lack-of-Progress Report' Proc. 12th International Bled Electronic Commerce Conference, Bled, Slovenia, June 7 - 9, 1999, at

Clarke R. (2002) 'The Birth of Web Commerce' Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 2002, at

Clarke R. (2004) 'Origins and Nature of the Internet in Australia' Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, various versions on the Web and in print, most recently of 29 January 2004, at

Clarke R. (2008) 'Web 2.0 as Syndication' Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research 3,2 (August 2008) 30-43, at, Preprint at

Croft J. (1993) 'Launch of WWW - 8 July 1993', Australian National Botanic Gardens, at

Debreceny R. (2007) 'The Management of World Wide Web Resources in Australian Universities' Proc. ASCILITE'97, 7-10 December 2007, at

Deja-Vu (2000) 'Web Timeline' Metamatrix, undated but apparently c. 2000, at

Farrow J. (1998) 'Brief History of the Shakespeare Web-Site' University of Sydney, 19 November 1998, at

Festa P. (2001) 'Paul Kunz: Turning on the World Wide Web' ZDNet, 11 December 2001, at

Gillies J. & Cailliau R. (2000) 'How the Web Was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web' Oxford University Press, 2000

Green D. (2001) 'What was the first Australian WEB server?' Personal corespondence, Wed, 12 Dec 2001 02:49:17 +1100 (EST)

Korporaal G. (2009) 'AARNet: 20 Years of the Internet in Australia: 1989-2009' AARNet, Canberra, 2009

Malone D. (2000) 'Early Irish Web Stuff', David Malone, undated but apparently of c. 2000, at

Mason J. (1993) 'W3 SERVERS', Justin Mason, at

Mosaic (1994) 'Index of /home/whatsnew' Mosaic Communications Corp, at;O=D, mirror at

NCSA (2009) 'About NCSA Mosaic' National Center for Supercomputing Application, 2009, at

Netcraft (2010) 'Web Server Survey' Netcraft Ltd, April 2010, at

Schrage M. (1994) 'Is Advertising Dead?' Wired 2.02 (February 1994), at

Stewart W. (2000) 'Mosaic -- The First Global Web Browser' The Living Internet, 2000, at

W3C (1992) 'World Wide Web' World Wide Web Consortium, 3 November 1992, at

W3C (2000) 'A Little History of the World Wide Web', at

WVL (2008) 'History of the Virtual Library' WWW Virtual Library, updates to 2008, at

Appendix 1: Announcements - June 1993 to May 1994

A set of NCSA What's New pages for the months of June 1993 to October 1994 is at Mosaic (1994). They disclose a long list of announcements of Australian web-sites, the first 12 months' of which are extracted here:


There do not appear to be many documents available that tell the story of the early years of the Web from the perspective of a particular country. But see Malone (2000) for 'Early Irish Web Stuff'.

In Australia, my own contributions to the emergence of the Web were minuscule, but I was one of the early beneficiaries of other people's efforts. The preparation of this paper has drawn on the published literature, but to a very considerable extent also on information contributed by many correspondents. Of particular value were contributions by Tony Barry (formerly Deputy Librarian at the ANU) and Matthew Ciolek (ANU College of Asia and the Pacific). Errors, omissions and imprecisions are mine, however, and readers are encouraged to draw problems with the text to my attention.

Author Affiliations

Roger Clarke is Principal of Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W., and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Australian National University.

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The content and infrastructure for these community service pages are provided by Roger Clarke through his consultancy company, Xamax.

From the site's beginnings in August 1994 until February 2009, the infrastructure was provided by the Australian National University. During that time, the site accumulated close to 30 million hits. It passed 65 million in early 2021.

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