Traitors and Spies

Reviewed By  Nan van Dissel       September 28, 2020


Author  John Fahey

Distributor:      Allen & Unwin
ISBN:                 9781760877705
Publisher:         Allen & Unwin
Release Date:   August 2020  


Australia’s security agencies have not necessarily always been good; historically they were pretty awful in the first half of the twentieth century. John Fahey’s first book ‘Australia’s First Spies; The Remarkable Story of Australian Intelligence’ is followed up with this tome, in which he uses the same thorough research to interpret and expose the actions of the conglomerate of agencies and personnel, which constituted the Australia’s security service during the years 1901 to 1950.

The author, an experience intelligence officer, has combed the archives to compile this comprehensive history of these security agencies, which have victimized people on religious, political, ethnic grounds. These officials of the Australian Government harassed hundreds of Australian citizens whom they considered disloyal traitors; illegally arresting them, destroying their reputations, and confiscating their property.

Key players during this time have been thoroughly researched and documented making the reading of their exploits and underhand behaviour page turning. Lieutenant Colonel Robert Fredrick Wake is highlighted as the most corrupt Commonwealth official ever to ‘serve’ his country while serving himself; causing damage not only to innocent people but to innocent organisations.

This academic work is supported by a complete list of abbreviations and a comprehensive glossary. The inclusion of diagrams indicating the association of key figures/organizations aids the reader’s understanding of the text.

Readers will enjoy the fascinating stories of the heroes, victims and villains of this era before ASIO was established.