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Spy: Espionage in Australia

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by Rachel Timmins (subscribe)
I am a freelance copywriter and photojournalist based in Toowoomba. I have had poetry, blogs, devotionals, fiction, reviews and articles published and have been an editor for a poetry magazine.
Event: -
Get clued-in & bring your spy kids
Spy Espionage Australia exhibit Cobb & Co Toowoomba
Spy: Espionage in Australia exhibit at the Cobb & Co Museum until 30 October 2022.


The Cobb & Co Museum presents Spy: Espionage in Australia. Get clued-in on the history of government agents and educate your children. Cobb & Co Museum states, 'the stories of spies are sometimes stranger than fiction' and you can discover what they mean as you read these stories around the walls or watch interactive films. The exhibit covers intelligence work from 1949 to the present day with background years as well.

Spy espionage Australia first Cobb & Co Toowoomba Wilson le Couteur
Australia's first spy was Wilson le Couteur.


Surveillance, photographs and films reveal how (mostly unnamed) officers and agents lived double lives. Find out what motivates someone to become a secret agent and how that actually plays out. One woman became an ASIO agent in her 50s and remained an undercover agent for eight years, travelling behind the Iron Curtain and in Vienna. You can read the notes she made on a case while on a Soviet ship. One Russian double-agent worked for Australian intelligence as a technical assistant and cypher clerk. He and his wife eventually defected, with his wife being first detained in Canberra for interrogation.

Spy espionage training film Toowoomba Cobb & Co exhibit
This picture from a film is following the movements of a spy in training.


Top secret letters, cypher machines, disguise kits, invisible ink, Nazi paraphernalia and World War declassified information are some more things to explore in the exhibit. Read all about Australia's first spy, Wilson le Couteur and a letter he wrote to the Prime Minister.

Spy espionage counter-espionage exhibit Cobb & Co Toowoomba
Background info on espionage and counter-espionage from 1901 to 1914.


Technology in the intelligence community has come a long way from reel-to-reel recorders, high-speed message senders, printed cyphers and invisible ink.

spy espionage exhibit technology message Cobb & Co Toowoomba
A high-speed message sender used by secret agents.


Espionage and counter-espionage have been shaped by the culture and people of the day. The exhibit was sponsored by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program and Visions Australia. Spy: Espionage in Australia is on until 30 October 2022 at 27 Lindsay Street, East Toowoomba, open seven days from 9:30am to 4pm. Bring your spy kids.

spy espionage kids exhibit Cobb & Co Toowoomba film watching
The next 'spy kids' watching one of the interactive films.
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Why? Learn and interact with the history of espionage in Australia.
When: 7 days, 9:30am - 4pm
Phone: 07 4659 4900
Where: Toowoomba, Queensland
Cost: $12.50 adults, $25 - $32 families
Your Comment
We went to Qantas museum in Longreach and they also had "spy exhibition". They had this spy booklet as a guide for children on how to be a good spy. Was a hit for our children
by Mindo Koerber (score: 2|418) 46 days ago
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