"MONTEREY" APARTMENTS
17 QUEENS ROAD, SOUTH YARRA, MELBOURNE
HOUSED THE SPECIAL INTELLIGENCE BUREAU (RAN)
THE DIRECTORATE OF NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS (RAN)
AND THE ANALYTICAL SECTION OF FRUMEL (USN/RAN)

 

Commander Nave of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) moved his Naval cryptanalysis unit called Special Intelligence Bureau into "Monterey" Apartments in Queens Road, South Yarra in Melbourne. They were located on the top or third floor at the time that FRUMEL and the Directorate of Naval Communications were located in the apartment block.

Commander Newman, the Director of Signal Communications (DSC) established his Directorate of Naval Communications on the ground floor of "Monterey" Apartments.

The joint RAN/USN Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne (FRUMEL), was established at "Monterey" Apartments in about March/April/May 1942. FRUMEL was one of two Allied Sigint organisations in the South West Pacific area (SWPA)

FRUMEL was subordinate to the Commander of the USN 7th Fleet. The other unit was Central Bureau which was attached to the HQ of the Allied Commander of the South-West Pacific area.

"Sigint" is a code name for signal intelligence. Sigint operations were so secret that they were given their own special classification of "Ultra Secret". The word "Ultra" was used as a code name for intelligence derived from interception and decoding of Japanese military and naval messages.

 

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"Monterey" Apartments

 

The analytical section for FRUMEL was based on the second floor of the "Monterey" Apartments in Queens Road, Melbourne, opposite the Albert Park Golf Course on the corner of Leopold Street and near the Albert Park Barracks. They occupied approximately half of the building while the rest of the building was occupied by Australian civilian tenants. The intercept site for FRUMEL was located at Moorabbin another suburb of Melbourne.

 

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In November 2000 the building still existed and one of the 1st floor apartments was up for sale. I could not see any plaques commemorating the part that it played in winning the war in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

 

"Monterey" had not long been built before it was commandeered for military purposes. It had 30 twin-bedroom apartments grouped in sets of six. FRUMEL staff knocked down walls between units and established a veritable rabbit's warren of offices on the second floor.

Security guards were placed on duty around the building and security passes were need to access the building. Passes were also even needed to go from one part of the building to another.

Today "Monterey" is used as Apartments and is described by Real Estate agents as a classic art deco three storey brick building built in 1940 located opposite Albert Park Lake comprising 32 apartments.

 

Signal Intelligence Units in Australia during WW2

 

Did you work in "Monterey" Apartments during WW2?

If you did I'd like to hear from you.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

Maneski, Sharon A., "The Quiet Heroes of the Southwest Pacific Theater: An Oral History of the Men and Women of CBB and FRUMEL", 1996

Jenkins, David, "Battle Surface - Japan's Submarine War against Australia 1942 - 44", Random House Australia, 1992

REFERENCE BOOKS

Winter, Barbara, "The Intrigue Master - Commander Long and Naval Intelligence in Australia, 1913 - 1945", Boolarong Press, 1995

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 14 November 2000

This page last updated 27 December 2016