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Cyril’s Last Post January 7, 2008

Posted by Cyril Brookes in General.

Sadly on Wednesday December 13 Cyril died in a tragic accident at home. He was standing outside his house while a load of timber was being delivered. Somehow that load came loose and fell upon him. He died shortly after.  We understand he suffered no pain.

Cyril Brookes was a distinguished professor, engineer, businessman, student, and author.  A lover of travelling, fly-fishing, good wine and spicy laksa.

It is often said that in the end a man will not be judged by what he says, he will be judged by his actions. My father’s actions were carried out with honour, respect and devotion. 

To lose him in such a sudden and shockingly incomprehensible way is devastating. 

Dr CHP Brookes was born in  Sydney 1938. His parents had emigrated from Chicago in 1929. His father was sent to establish the Sunbeam corporation here in Australia.

My father Cyril or, “little Cyril” as he was originally known was their only child.

In 1949 the family  moved to a colonial property with a beautiful gothic sandstone homestead built in 1887.  This was to be our family home for almost 40 years. Dad never could go back there after we left, such was his affection for it.

Cyril was a student at Riverview from 1950-55. Following on to complete a Bachelors and Masters degree in Electrical Engineering with first class honours from the University of Sydney

In 1962 Dad was awarded a scholarship to St Edmund Hall, Oxford University to study his Doctorate. His thesis entitled “Adaptive Control Systems” is legendary amongst some circles. (Mostly whose members carry a three pen set in their top pocket?)

My father was a man born out of a past generation, a generation which admired academic and intellectual achievement, far more than we do so today. His breadth and depth of knowledge was truly astounding.

From the science of business information, to the art of drinking fine wine, to the correct method of priming the dam pump. He excelled. 

Despite being born in an older world he did not become lost as that world changed so rapidly, he adapted to become successful in the modern corporate world. 

In 1964-he joined BHP and over the next 10 years he became the first senior executive in charge of information technology. By 1972 he was responsible for the entire computing function of the company, with computer installations at six locations in Australia and a staff of over 1,000.

Dad once told me how in late 60s as a young man he was asked by the BHP management to head to the US and oversee the purchase of a new computer system.

This task carried much responsibility, with a budget of one million dollars. an enormous sum in those days…

Story goes that nearing the end of an extensive journey across the computing hotspots in the US. the local consultant announced there was a big problem. The budget.. They had too much left over!. Over the next few days. Staying at the Plaza Hotel in New York ,cases of champagne  were ordered, and the budget problem was over. Cyril knew when a party was needed. My family hope many of you will join us this afternoon celebrate his life. 

Perhaps Cyril’s defining moment came in 1974 when at only 36 he was  appointed the foundation Professor of Information Systems at the University of New South Wales,  over the next 20 years  he built up one of the world’s largest schools of applied information technology, with over 30 academic staff and 1,000 students. He taught all aspects of the application of computer systems to business and the government, with special emphasis on corporate computer strategies.

He published many papers in this field, and more recently outlined his thoughts through his regular internet blog. “Cyril on business intelligence” 

It was this research work which enabled him to move into the corporate world.

Cyril formed Grapevine Technologies Limited in 1987, to develop and market the software product which evolved from his research. The technology was adopted by many large global corporations and the operations of the company were successfully sold to a US corporation in November 2000.

More recently he established EIS Pathfinder with my brother Richard. Together they developed a unique methodology for determining the requirements for business reporting systems.  

A lifetime devoted to the development of information technology and knowledge management. He was truly a teacher and ahead of his time.

Our modern world in obsessed with lists, lists stating who is the most beautiful or richest for the year. In 2003 my dad made one of those lists. The Bulletin declared that he was one of the top 100 smartest Australians, recognised in his field of information technology.

If it’s possible to measure a man’s life in a single word, then I think the word to best describe my father would be devotion – to his wife, his family and his passions. He lived life to the full and sadly died too soon for us. We were lucky to be the recipients of his devotion and our world has been a better place because of his teachings. At the very least, we all know how to fix a pump!

Dad, we love you dearly, rest well and in peace.

The Brookes Family.



1. James Taylor - January 7, 2008

I am terribly saddened to hear that Cyril has died. I have enjoyed our exchanges by blog and by email tremendously and I will miss him. I will find a fine wine to drink in his honor.
My condolences
James Taylor

2. Nicholas Goodman - January 8, 2008

I too am sorry to hear that Cyril has passed. I looked forward to his blog posts and greatly enjoyed our one meetup in Sydney.

They’ll be a glassed raised in Seattle for Cyril as well.

3. Ian Nicholson - January 18, 2008

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Cyril’s passing – especially so since I had met up with him and Richard for the first time in more than a year just the week before.

There are few words one can say at time like this, except that Cyril held my respect enormously and I was grateful for the opportunity to work with him – albeit very briefly. He was clearly devoted to his craft – a true Pathfinder – and had a terrific sense of humour which surely endeared him to all who worked with him.

I wish to extend my sincerest condolences to his family. Cyril was a unique character and a tremendous contributor to our industry who will be sorely missed.

God bless, Cyril.

Ian Nicholson

4. KM News™ » the Final Cyril on BI blog entry - January 19, 2008

[…] Cyril Brookes family has posted a final blog entry on Cyril on BI. […]

5. Brad Hoyt - January 19, 2008

Cyril touched my life both personally and professionally. He was at times my boss, my collaborator, and always my friend and mentor. He is missed greatly.

I will cherish the memories of Cyril, knowing that I will never meet anyone else like him in my lifetime. That single word, devotion, does indeed sum his life.

6. Mike Vanderkelen - January 21, 2008

As the young editor of Computer Weekly I was somewhat in awe of Cyril when I first met him and shared the speaker’s podium at the annual ACS conference at Terrigal’s Florida Hotel in 1975. I need not have worried as it was my pleasure to meet a man who I will remember not only as a captain of the IT industry but a warm human being, two of whose passions I have come to share. Cyril, I will drink a big red and cast, hopefully, the right fly in your memory when I fish the Tasmanian high country in the near future.

7. John Face - February 19, 2008

My sincere condolences to Cyril’s family.

Cyril was a classmate I always admired when we were both Electrical Engineering undergraduates at the University of Sydney. He was always willing to explain concepts I did not understand.

Later in life I met him from time to time when both of our sons were at Riverview. He always recognised me and greeted me warmly.

I was saddened to read of his untimely death in today’s SMH obituary.

Truly he was one of nature’s gentlemen.

May God bless you Cyril,

John Face BE (Syd)

8. Joe de Viana - September 20, 2008

Joe de Viana – September 2008
I have only just read your sad news and offer my sincere condolences.
I met Cyril at Campion Hall -Riverview Preparatory [Point Piper] . It was 1947. In 1948 his father drove us to Tudor House[Mossvale]for a football match.
His father was considerate and friendly and obviously devoted to Cyril.
Cyril was humble and friendly never betraying his great intellect.

Joe de Viana BSc Chem. Eng. UNSW

9. Helen M Grave B. Sc. FCMA - August 19, 2009

Twenty two years ago I was working as a consultant and manager of the Decision Support Group for PActel the IT arm of PA Consulting. In conjunction with Cyril we developed and launched a Decision Analysis tool called PARADIGM and I was fortunate enough to have a number of fascinating and entertaining meetings with him in London. One of the more entertaining involved wobbling back to my hotel after a well wined dinner at the RAC club where I recall he used to stay. Shortly afterwards I moved onto pastures new and a completely different business arena. Today I googled Cyril Brookes to find his current views on Decision Analysis/Support. Both shocked and saddened to hear of his sudden death. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

10. James Grant - January 9, 2010

Im Sorry for your loss

11. Grand Junction Chiropractor - May 26, 2010

I’m sorry for your loss.

12. daisywilson97998 - April 8, 2016

haha thanks!n what are the Greek words?nI think the last on is good luck for exams? Come on http://tropaadet.dk/daisywilson97998081845

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