52 Wireless Section was one of the 11 Field Sections of the Australian Special Wireless Group, AIF. They were part of MacArthur and Blamey's new top-secret intelligence unit called Central Bureau which comprised Australian Army, RAAF and US Army personnel. 

52 Section was initially stationed at Mornington Racecourse in Victoria. It was comprised mostly of AWAS personnel.

52 Wireless Section personnel intercepted the Japanese Kana signals, recording them and forwarding them to Central Bureau where the code that was in them was deciphered. 

Marian Kaufman (nee Kennedy) was a member of 52 Wireless Section. She was based at A.S.W.G. Headquarters at Kalinga in Brisbane. The following are Marian's memories of her time at Kalinga in Brisbane:-



Writer's cramp on busy commitments, taking Kana for 2 or 3 hrs. without a break.

Cold winter nights, going on shift with pyjamas under our uniforms, plus greatcoats.



The feeling we were all one big special family.

Writing to, and receiving letters from our "boys" in New Guinea and Darwin.

Being proud that we were doing a job that was really making a difference in the war.

We intercepted and logged Japanese Army, Navy and Air force messages in Kana code.

These messages were quickly passed on to Central Bureau for deciphering.



Dances at the Kedron dance hall and City Hall, picnics on the beach at Redcliffe, horse-riding, tennis, films and concerts, to name just a few.

Browsing through my army photo album, I came across this poem which I had pasted inside the cover, all those years ago.

To me it typifies Brisbane as it was in wartime. 

I thought you'd like it. I think it was published in an army magazine, probably, Salt.

BY NX 73291 

"Streets dim-lit,a nd studded
With odorous air-raid shelters;
Young girls in the shadowed doorways
And on street corners standing;
Soldiers of the nations, shouting, singing, laughing,
In uniforms of many styles and hues;
Trams to capacity crowded
With pleasure-seeking swarms,
Rattling, jolting, clanging,
To the traffic lights demand.
Long queues, snakelike, crawling
Through the lobbies of theatres,
Where glowing cigarette ends
And flaring matches distract;
Busy pie stalls ever- ringed 
With silent, hungry crowds.
Bored musicians tiredly playing
In the halls of swing;
Bright lit canteen doorways sifting 
Motley crowds of men."

I wonder if NX73291 is still around?

Marian Kaufman



I'd like to thank Marian Kaufman (nee Kennedy) for her assistance with this home page.



"On Ultra Active Service - The Story of Australia's Signals Intelligence Operations during World War II"
by Geoffrey Ballard


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This page first produced 6 July 2002

This page last updated 31 August 2018