I was spurred to write here today because of two events which occurred, one yesterday and one today. Prima facie, individually they appear totally unrelated but when viewed together by a few individuals are seen to be closely linked. I just happen to be one of those individuals.

‘How is it so’ to quote the late Professor Julius Sumner Miller.

Well yesterday I was totally unable to upload any of my images onto this WordPress site. No big deal you might say but without supporting images the thrust of yesterday’s blog was lost. Event number One.

Then today,  She Who Must be Obeyed, when examining the darkened interior of a rarely accessed  cupboard came across an interesting and never used white coffee cup bearing a most unusual  logo of a black hat with black sun glasses beneath the hat with the dates 1940-1997.  Event number Two.

Once upon a time I was fortunate to be a part of an organisation that preferred to be  the ‘unseen and unheard of’ element of the main organisation. In fact, had we been able to become invisible, many of our tasks would have been oh, so simple.

Now photography was an essential element of the job and without photographs the thrust of our written work (not in invisible ink of course) would have been lost. Go back to Event No. One.

That brings me to the mysterious coffee cup.

The Unseen and Unheard element of the main organisation was formed in 1940 shortly after the outbreak of WW11. It’s task was to be on the lookout for fifth columnists, communist sympathisers, members of the Communist Party, aliens and any other people or organisations perceived by the powers that be to be a threat to National Security. Photography was an essential activity.

In addition gathering information and reporting to the main organisation, the reports and photographs made their way to Federal agencies with a similar mandate.

During the times of civil disobedience Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam conflict and the implementation of conscription, it was exciting and extremely busy working in the ‘unseen and unheard’ element. The information flow was the same in the 1960’s as it had been in the 1940’s.

I learned a lot about available light photography, black and white film processing and printing. More   importantly, I was also getting to understanding what motivated normally law abiding people to express their political views and opinions in sometimes forceful and unlawful ways.

Eventually I came out of the shadows as they say and went into another line of work in the main organisation.

Then in 1997 the Government of the day determined that the ‘unseen and unheard’ element had outlived its usefulness and it was disbanded without fanfare.

Subsequently, a reunion of those of us who had worked there was held and only the coffee mugs with the black hat and black sunglasses survive to remind us of the work we carried out. Go back to Event No Two.

What a coincidence, Event No. One and Event No. Two have come together to suggest this blog to me so here we are. A report unsupported by photography. Impact lost.

Hoo roo for now.

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