The first systematic account of Australian intelligence operations in the early 20th century offers fascinating new insights into Australian politics and international relations.
Australia was born with its eyes wide open. Although politicians spoke publicly of loyalty to Britain and the empire, in secret they immediately set about protecting Australia's interests from the Germans, the Japanese - and from Britain itself.
As an experienced intelligence officer, John Fahey knows how the security services disguise their activities within government files. He has combed the archives to compile the first account of Australia's intelligence operations in the years from Federation to the end of World War II.
He tells the stories of dedicated patriots who undertook dangerous operations to protect their new nation, despite a lack of training and support. He shows how the early adoption of advanced radio technology by Australia contributed to the war effort in Europe. He also exposes the bureaucratic mismanagement in World War II that cost many lives, and the leaks that compromised Australia's standing with its wartime allies so badly that Australia was nearly expelled from the Anglo-Saxon intelligence network.
Australia's First Spies shows Australia always has been a far savvier operator in international affairs than much of the historical record suggests, and it offers a glimpse into the secret history of the nation.
Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication:
01 August 2018
Preface, Introduction1 Wilson Le Couteur's Pacific Mission, 1901 2 Atlee Hunt: Public Servant, Spy Master, 1901-23 3 Enlightened Princes and Wise Generals: Military Intelligence in Early Australia 4 A Prescient Letter: Suspecting Japanese Spies 5 Join the Navy and Spy on the World 6 Australian Success, 1914 7 The Wanetta Organisation, 1901-20 8 National Intelligence, 1901-20 9 The First Coastwatcher 10 Australian Signals Intelligence, 1914-29 11 Hand to Mouth: Australian Signals Intelligence in the 1930s 12 Harry Freame's Japanese Mission, 1941 13 The Coastwatchers Go to War, 1939-42 14 The Lions in the Den: Japanese Counterintelligence 15 Herding Cats: The Allied Intelligence Bureau 16 Australia's First National Signals Intelligence Effort 17 Battle in Asia and the Pacific, 1941-42 18 Establishing Central Bureau, 1942 19 Stepping on Toes: Australia's Attack on Japan's Diplomatic Codes 20 Allied Secret Intelligence Compromised, 1944 21 Saving Australian SIGINT, 1945-47 22 Coastwatching behind Enemy Lines 23 The Solomons and Pacific Area, 1943 24 Human Intelligence in the Attack, 1943-45 25 The Kempeitai's Game, 1942-45
Dr John Fahey worked at Defence Signals Directorate (1988-1996) and served in a number of regimental and intelligence postings during his service in the British and Australian armies between 1975 and 2014. He is currently an Honorary Fellow of the Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University, and managing director of Cynergex Group, a medical education and services company.
Reviews for Australia's First Spies: The remarkable story of Australian intelligence operations, 1901-45
Great intelligence is often shared by great story telling, and John Fahey shares a great story in Australia's First Spies. -- Rear Admiral Paul Becker, USN (Retired), Former Director for Intelligence of the U.S. Pacific Command and Joint Chiefs of Staff Fills a major gap in the history of Australian intelligence organisations. -- Professor David Horner, author of THE SPY CATCHERS: THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF ASIO 1949-1963