By 1971 a NOVA minicomputer was installed in the Engineering Faculty for use by the Adaptive Communications Group, and by 1973, for the first time, all Electrical Engineering staff were under the same roof. By 1974 technology was flourishing so rapidly that it was not uncommon for final year students to receive seven offers, and there were such huge vacancies for job positions that graduates could pick employment and negotiate their salaries straight from university. In this same year, fees were abolished and the Commonwealth took over full funding of universities.

Many significant things happened in the 1970s. The Faculty was now a large and complex organisation, and by the late ‘70s, it was beyond the power of any one professor to exert an overarching degree of influence in a large and complex faculty. Laboratory time was reduced, making room for deeper theoretical studies, and Peter Joubert was placed as the Chair for Mechanical Engineering, and later implemented the compulsory wearing of seatbelts in Victoria, the world’s first jurisdiction for compulsory seatbelt-wearing. The civil engineering building extension was completed by the end of the decade, and the late John Williams’ work in orthopaedic biomechanics included the design of a fully articulated total knee replacement, and the development of stronger bonds for hip replacements.

Student groups began to run rampant during this era, one of the more memorable being the Society for Confining Immoral Impulses Among Engineering Students (SCIIAES), which had the emblem of the lily. Originally a form of anti-student society, SCIIAES originated in 1956 and was a running joke for the next two decades, as first-year students were initiated into the society. SCIIAES reputedly offered ‘Degrees in Imbibition’, requiring candidates to complete a pub crawl visiting approximately 30 hotels on a given route around the wider campus area. The Bachelor of Imbibition (BI) required candidates to drink a standard (7 oz) glass of beer in every pub in the one day and a BI (Hons) required them to drink a 10 oz glass of beer at each pub while a Masters in Imbibition (MI) required a 7 oz glass of fortified wine and a PhD required a tot of top-shelf at each pub. Once a candidate completed their requirements for the BI, they were reputedly given an academic production certificate, even with a proper seal.

SCIIAES, photo courtesy of Paul Mosig