Andrew Croome Interview

Andrew Croome's novel, Document Z, won last year's "Australian"/Vogel Award and has now been published by Allen & Unwin.  The book tells the story of the Petrov Affair, the defection of a couple of Soviet agents in Australia in the 1950s. The author is interviewed by Madeline Healy for "The Courier-Mail" who finds he discovered a lot of material in the national archives.

A royal commission was ordered by Menzies and the documents, which were never publicly released, were alleged to provide evidence of an extensive Soviet spy ring in Australia.

"You go through those archives in Canberra," Croome says, "and end up finding the most amazing documents. There are newspaper articles of anything reported at the time, lists of objects in houses because ASIO had rented safe houses, and even diaries of every moment of Petrov on certain days.

"I found it all fascinating. Getting closer and closer to the original files made me realise it was a great story. I came across a person called B2 who is mentioned in the book - and that's how he was mentioned in the files."

Croome says the files revealed spy codes and ASIO monitoring activities in the 1950s.

"There is a whole lot of spy talk in the files such as 'shadowing operations' and 'reliable citizens'.

"There were code names everywhere and it was great to read all of that."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 17, 2009 2:02 PM.

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