The Eric H. Echidna Memorial Home Page


During the period of 1988 to 1998 the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Melbourne had a department dedicated to providing support and addressing the computing needs of the student and staff in the Faculty. The department no longer exists, and in the last three years of its life was something of a shell of it former self, as budgeting and various other problems that have been facing universities in Australia, resulted in the usual cycle of staff leaving, frustration, and increased work load (aaah! The glory that was Rome...). However, that is not the reason for this page, during the "good" times the department also saw the development of a grab bag of computer graphics libraries and tools, all of which were used by academics, students, and other parties around the world both in the development of teaching, pursuing curiosity, and the desire to make pretty pictures. More interestingly, despite everything, at the time of writing, over 10 years later, people are still using this software!

And to keep it available is the reason for this page.

A few words of note:


The Software

Some Other Stuff We Found Useful and Interesting

Just a collection of the old favourites, some historic graphics data, as well as some other tools that were developed and contributed over the years.



Historic Data

A Few Frequently Asked Questions

Some mysteries revealed!

Why Eric H. Echidna?

At the time this project got under way the wife of one of the developers was working for a library and an article about a group of European Zoologists who came out to study Australian native animals happened to cross her desk.

Unfortunately the title of this worthy piece of science is currently lost, however, by way of summary, we are sad to report that the intention of the investigation (at least originally) was to demonstrate that since Australian native animals are, in a sense, less evolved than their European counterparts they are also less intelligent.

It happened that one of the animals helping the scientists in their investigations was an echidna and it was given the task of learning a maze on the basis of receiving a reward by pushing a button on a machine at the other end of the maze. Having demonstrated that it was quite capable of learning a maze, the scientists were then faced with finding the answer to the next question. If we take the food out of the machine how will the echidna react? Will it be dumb enough to keep running through the maze again and again? What will it do?

So they took the food out of the machine.

And this is what happened.

The echidna ran through the maze, pushed the button on the machine, no food came out. The echidna pushed the button again, again no food came out. It then turned and looked up at the observers giving them what was described as a "filthy look" and proceeded not only to destroy the food dispensing machine, but to introduce the observers to how one can traverse a maze in a straight line by pushing the walls down! It is to the memory of this echidna (which we dubbed Eric H. Echidna), this software is duly dedicated.

You can probably understand why, over the years, Eric has received much mail, some beer, and been invited to talk at the odd conference!

For a full size picture of Eric click here.

What does the H stand for?

When you're as smart as Eric - Hackenbacker - what else could it be?

I Notice this Software is Beerware, is there Anywhere I can send Beer?

Thanks for the thought. Next time you're out with some friends, you can drink on behalf of us.

What About the Echidna Image?

The artist was Geoff "Jeff" Hook, if you want to use it in something, you are most welcome, just acknowledge the artist and remember to tell people the echidna's name is Eric!

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all material on this site is Copyright (c), all rights reserved.
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