‘A recognised trouble-maker wherever he goes’: Narrated Surveillance, Redacted Recognition and the International Reach of ASIO’s Cultural Cold War

Abstract

Lilley is a Communist of many years standing and a recognised trouble-maker wherever he goes.’ So begins the dossier opening the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) file on Australian writer and union organiser Merv Lilley. He was later to become the third husband of the more prominent writer Dorothy Hewett, but in 1950 when his file was opened he was working as a miner, labourer and ship’s crew out of the small coal and sugar ports of northern Queensland. ASIO’s descriptor serves as a useful title for this essay, which is more closely about Hewett and Australia’s best-known Communist writer, Frank Hardy, because it concentrates the three tropes of recognition (figured as deliberated and yet suspicious observation), ‘trouble’, and travel, that come together in thinking about ASIO’s surveillance of Australian writers internationally, beyond Australian borders, during the Cold War.

Published 1 November 2015 in Volume 30 No. 4. Subjects: Cold War, Communism, Jack Lindsay.

Cite as: Moore, Nicole. ‘‘A recognised trouble-maker wherever he goes’: Narrated Surveillance, Redacted Recognition and the International Reach of ASIO’s Cultural Cold War.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 30, no. 4, 2015. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.12d68b885a.