On 21 February 2023, the first volume of the Australian Signals Directorate’s official history will be released for purchase by the Australian public. Written by author Dr John Fahey, The Factory tells the story of the first 25 years of Australia's signals intelligence organisation from World War II to the Vietnam War. Pre-orders are now available through Allen & Unwin’s website.
'This story has never been told, because in the secret world we could not, and cannot, share what we do all day, even with family and loved ones.' - from the foreword by Rachel Noble, Director-General, Australian Signals Directorate
At the end of World War II, it was clear that the nation must never again find itself entering a major war without a national intelligence capability. The Factory tells the story of how Australia's talented signals intelligence amateurs took an ad hoc wartime organisation and made it a national agency that became a highly regarded member of the 'five eyes' signals intelligence system.
Founded in 1947 as the Defence Signals Branch, the organisation built upon the foundations put in place by the interwar Royal Australian Navy and wartime signals intelligence agencies, particularly Central Bureau Brisbane, which comprised personnel from all five eyes nations. Today's Australian Signals Directorate continues the work of protecting the interests of the nation and its allies.
This is the story of the people who did the everyday work of collecting and analysing foreign signals. It reveals how they approached the complexity of world politics and managed massive technological change, from the days of radio transmissions to high-capacity machine systems and computing during the Vietnam War.
Dr John Fahey worked at Defence Signals Directorate in the 1980s and 1990s. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University and the author of Australia's First Spies and Traitors and Spies.