Offices on the move - Sydney

The Commonwealth Offices in Martin Place, Sydney were sometimes a more convenient location for meetings of the War Cabinet. For example in February 1941 the War Cabinet met in Sydney to consider the British reply to the report of the Singapore Conference of October 1940, the location was probably chosen because it was easier for the New Zealand Prime Minister, Peter Fraser, to attend. 1

Staff also worked in the Commonwealth Offices where additional space was available in the Federal Members' Rooms. No great difficulties were experienced as time spent in Sydney was not prolonged and a large staff was not required. Sydney meetings in 1942/43 were particularly infrequent:

Between sessions of the War Council meeting in Sydney this week, the prime minister (Mr Curtin) spared a moment in his busy day to meet pressmen. War Council and War Cabinet sat in Sydney this week for the first time since February 1942. 2

Glaydys Joyce, Prime Minister Curtin's secretary, recalls the secret phone set-up in the Commonwealth Offices in Sydney:

Now in Sydney we had the most extraordinary set-up; we were in Commonwealth offices there and we had a little room with our room about the size of a telephone box and that was the secret phone and it had the teleprinter in it which would take these secret cables and … if you wanted to have the secret phone it would have to go into that. 3

GPO in Martin Place, Sydney

General Post Office, Martin Place, Sydney, 1963, with the clock tower removed (the tower was dismantled in 1942 because of the danger of bombing by the Japanese.
National Archives of Australia: A1200, L43868




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