Publication Details

Cahill, Rowan, 2012 Anthropologists, Spooks, and the Boys Who Went to War Radical Sydney/Radical History 30 July

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Radical Sydney / Radical History

Additional Publication Information

Radical Sydney began in June 2010 as a site devoted to the book by Terry Irving and Rowan Cahill titled 'Radical Sydney: Places, Portraits and Unruly Episodes', published by UNSW Press (2010). While this function continues, the blog has expanded as a platform for radical writing about history.


I became aware of the rudiments of this story during the 1970s and 1980s in my various associations with the former Seamen’s Union of Australia (which amalgamated with the Waterside Workers' Federation in 1993 to form the Maritime Union of Australia), and the now defunct Communist Party of Australia. It was in these environments I first heard about, and met former members of, a strange Pacific War outfit and its links with Sydney (Australia), the US Army Small Ships Section. The legacy and memory of this outfit remained on the Sydney waterfront as part of a cultural memory, while forgotten or ignored elsewhere. Indeed the rallying point and meeting place for survivors of this outfit was, for a long time, a seafarers’ mission in the Sydney maritime precinct.