(1951 – 1991,
Tim Hartnell is a name that is well known to many (if not all) Spectrum users.
A very public and well respected figure in the publishing circles, he was editor of numerous books on various subjects for the
He also wrote one of the first books for the ZX80 - "Making the Most of Your Sinclair ZX80"
But before all this Tim had gone down other roads. He first started work at the correspondence department of the Victoria Police
force! He then went on to become a DJ for country radio. He then left Victoria to work as a news reader for a country TV station in
Western Australia. When he came in touch with the ZX80 he was working in London as a journalist on the Australasian Express. He
also wrote many articles for various papers and even ran a regular maths puzzle column for an Australian paper!
He was one of the first to purchase a Sinclair ZX80 home computer in early 1980, and is well known for his attempts to keep the ZX80
cool by balancing a frozen carton of milk on top of it! He was also one of the first to see the ZX81 as well as the Spectrum, and
one of its early adopters.
In his efforts to bring ZX80 users together, he started the Sinclair ZX80 User's Club, which became so popular that within six
weeks of it being launched, it had 3000 members! The club even had its own magazine called "Interface", which Tim claimed was the
first magazine to be dedicated "solely" to the home computing user.
Tim was also the editor of ZX Computing magazine when it was launched, which is regarded widely as one of the first magazines to
address the practical (as opposed to purely gaming) needs of the Spectrum user.
Tim returned to Melbourne in 83-84 and eventually went on to co-found Interface Publications with Robert Young, an old friend of
his. It is still in existence and is now run by Robert Young.
Tim died of cancer in 1991.
Many thanks to Robert Young for allowing us to use some of the information from his site
inputs on Tim, as well as the photograph. Inputs also collated from Your Sinclair Issue 14, May 1985.