In 1940, the RAAF Directorate of Operations and Intelligence, along with the RAN and Australian Army combined to plan the operations of the Central War Room at Victoria Barracks in Melbourne. In the Central War Room, the operational staff resources of the three services were pooled under the control of the three Chiefs of Staff, who would meet frequently. 

The Combined Operational Intelligence Centre (COIC) was an important adjunct of the Central War Room. COIC comprised staff officers of the three services who sifted all Intelligence information and provided appreciation on strategic issues and other important problems which the Chiefs of Staff used to determine their War Plans.

On 27 February 1941, the War Cabinet gave official approval for the Combined Operational Intelligence Centre (COIC), Central War Room (CWR), Combined Defence Headquarters (CDH) and for Area Combined Headquarters (ACHs).  The Central War Room and the COIC were to be manned full time from 27 February 1941.

Combined Defence Headquarters were established to provide coordinated operations to counter an enemy attack at defended ports where naval, army and air forces were based.

For trade defence operations, the naval and air forces were co-coordinated via Area Combined Headquarters (ACH)

ACH's were established in:-

- South-Western area (Fremantle)
- South-Eastern area (Melbourne)
- North-Eastern area (initially Port Morseby, then Townsville)
- North-Western area (Darwin)

COIC, CWR and ACH Melbourne were established by 5 March 1941 in a new building in Coventry Street, in "N" Block. There was only one door that was used for entry to the building and it was locked at all times. A list of persons authorised to enter the building was maintained. A small hatch allowed messages to be passed in and out.


War Cabinet Room - Victoria Barracks


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This page first produced 24 February 2002

This page last updated 17 January 2020