Gladstone man's 'big idea' for PC paradise
GRAHAM Humphreys is laser-focused on his vision for Gladstone's next big thing.
The long-time Gladstone resident - who picked up a Canadian accent from a stint in British Columbia - has amassed a huge collection of computers and computer-related items since he began collecting them in the early 2000s.
Now he wants to put that collection on display for the public.
"I've always been enthusiastic about computers," he said.
"When they came out I went through a learning curve, taught myself and took some night courses.
"After a while I thought 'Well what can I do with these, what can I build?' and a computing museum was the answer."
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Graham said his collection really began to grow when people heard about his idea and began donating their own items.
His home and office are now overflowing with PC-related oddities, with thousands of items ranging from old processors and servers to model Star Trek phasers spilling out of his house and even a shipping container in his backyard.
"The house is full - I barely have enough room to live there," he said.
The collection includes an internet kiosk, early Apple machines, and a bottle of wine given away by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
But Graham's prize possession is an IBM XT - one of the first home computers ever produced.
"I was lucky to get one at a reasonable price," he said.
"It's just a big box on your desk with a monitor on top of it. It didn't last too long because it's an 8-bit computer, and as soon as they got the hang of building a 16-bit board, that was it."
Over the last few years several locations have been proposed for the museum, but have fallen through for various reasons including an asbestos discovery and council regulations.
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Graham is currently in talks with the Port Curtis Historical Society to house some of the collection at the Calliope River Historical Village - but his ultimate dream is to make the museum itself a local tourist attraction.
"You've heard of the Big Pineapple? What I'm working on is The Big Computer," he said.
"Something next to the Bruce Hwy so people go 'What is that?'"
If everything goes to plan, the museum will feature themed areas, working software, a games room, an internet cafe and a "mouse room" lined with mouse pads and old-fashioned computer mice dangling from the ceiling.
"It will be an upmarket attraction - and people will find out where their computers came from," Graham said.
"I want it to be an asset to the community."