On 26 January, the Australian Honours and Awards System recognises and celebrates the outstanding service of Australians who have contributed to a better society because of their sacrifice, service and achievements.
Congratulations to Joyce Grace, Coral Hinds and Ailsa Hale for being awarded the Australian Intelligence Medal. The Australian Intelligence Medal is awarded to a person who, as a member of the National Intelligence Community, has provided a distinguished service that directly contributes to national intelligence priorities, requirements, or capabilities.
Coral, Joyce and Ailsa were part of a pioneering group of women known as the ‘Garage Girls’. They served as Typex Operators in a garage behind the Central Bureau Headquarters in Brisbane during the Second World War. These incredible women worked tirelessly to collect and decode Japanese military communications, as well as send and receive encrypted communications between Allied forces. To achieve this they processed huge daily volumes of coded communications spelt out in ciphers. Like many members of the signals intelligence community in the war, they served in silence, being unable to share details of their service and successes with family and friends, or have that service publicly acknowledged, for decades.
The ‘Garage Girls’ paved the way for future generations of women in intelligence. Their nomination for the Australian Intelligence Medal acknowledges the distinguished service they provided in protecting Australia and recognises their service publicly, highlighting the enduring legacy of the ‘Garage Girls’ in the National Intelligence Community today.
ASD stands on the incredible work of the 'Garage Girls'. It is a proud moment to see their service and sacrifice being recognised and honoured.