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The Factory

The Official History of the Australian Signals Directorate, Vol I



John Fahey

Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2022

Hardback      576pp    RRP: $79.50


Reviewer: Daniel Gluer, December 2023


Imagine a hidden wartime hero, not wielding a gun, but cracking codes – their battlefield, the airwaves buzzing with enemy secrets. This is the captivating story of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) revealed by John Fahey.

During World War II, when danger lurked in coded messages, the ASD's codebreakers were Australia's secret weapon. Like skilled linguists deciphering ancient scrolls, they unravelled enemy plans, preventing surprise attacks and safeguarding the nation. But unlike wartime heroes fading into history, the ASD's mission continued, evolving into a watchful guardian during the Cold War.

Think of them as silent sentinels, using cutting-edge technology like high-tech owls, to listen in on conversations between potentially unfriendly nations. It was like catching murmurs across vast distances, not juicy gossip, but crucial intel about possible threats to Australia's security.

Adaptability was their watchword. From wartime ciphers to Cold War satellites, the ASD transformed its methods like a chameleon, constantly outsmarting new threats and adopting innovative techniques. Even during the complexities of the Vietnam War, they adjusted their focus, proving their unwavering commitment to national security.

Through it all, the ASD has stood as a silent guardian angel, shielding Australia from harm. This book opens a door to their clandestine world, introducing the real people who make up this remarkable team and showcasing their dedication to keeping the country safe. It's a testament to human ingenuity, unwavering courage, and the power of secrets kept for the greater good.




The RUSI – Vic Library thanks the publisher for making this work available for review.

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