Mr Roger Riordan AM

Roger Riordan

Roger Riordan graduated in Electrical Engineering from Melbourne University in 1954, and went to England with the intention of becoming an expert in atomic power but in 1955 he returned to Australia and joined the CSIRO Division of Mechanical Engineering at Highett.

In 1961 he married Shirley-Anne (Sally) Yeo, and in 1965 he spent a year at the University of California as a visiting lecturer, and was able to observe and photograph the upheavals of the Free Speech Movement, which played a major role in US politics. In 1967 he described a practical gyrator circuit, which had a major impact on the analogue techniques then used in international telecommunications, but shortly afterwards these were replaced by digital techniques, and this work became irrelevant.

He resigned from CSIRO in 1973 to set up his own business. He did some interesting work but never made any money, and in 1983 he became a lecturer at Chisholm Institute of Technology. In 1989 he upset the management over a point of principle, but then he wrote the first version of his VET Anti-viral software, and resigned and set up Cybec Pty Ltd to market it. The business grew rapidly, and in 1999 Cybec was employing 90 people round the world. He sold the business to Computer Associates in 1999. Sally died shortly afterwards, and he married Patricia Herman. In 2002 they set up the Cybec Foundation as a charitable foundation.

The Foundation concentrates on projects where it can set an example by helping young people get off to a good start, including scholarships for indigenous people, refugees and country students, disadvantaged young mothers and programs in the Arts. The Foundation has helped something like 500 students with assorted scholarships and grants, and 500 disadvantaged young mothers.

Major projects include:

  • Grants to environmental projects including the redevelopment of Neds Corner Homestead and Pallisters Reserve for Trust for Nature.
  • The Community Bubs program for disadvantaged young mothers administered by Family Life in Sandringham.
  • Cybec Electric playreadings, run by MTC, and Cybec 21st Century Composers program, run by MSO, to give young playwrites and composers practical experience.
  • Redevelopment of Medley Hall and the associated Cydelia House for the University of Melbourne.
  • Roger retired as Chairman of the Cybec Foundation in 2017.