Journal of the Australian War Memorial - Issue 38

The organisation of camouflage in Australia in the Second World War

Author: Dr Ann Elias

“In a general sense, camouflage is the art of concealing the fact that you are concealing”.[1]

{1} Camouflage in Australia in the Second World War hardly receives mention in contemporary military histories, but it is a subject which celebrates the contribution of Australian artists and designers to the war, and the ingenuity of the military.[2] Camouflage is based on the principles of concealment and deception. During the Second World War, Americans referred to it as “visual misinformation”.[3] The British called it “visual deception”, where the objective was “always to make the other side act, or refrain from action, on some mistaken assumption”.[4] In Australia, the Technical Director of Camouflage during the war, Professor William Dakin, defined camouflage as “everything which [makes] for the concealment of objectives, and for the deceit of the enemy in regard to our equipment and our intentions”.[5]

{2} Dakin was an academic from Sydney University, a zoologist with particular knowledge of Australian flora and fauna and the means by which living creatures escape their enemies. Although he acknowledged the importance of British methods of camouflage, he felt there was an urgency to develop designs and methods specific to the Australian environment, where “shadows are much darker, and it is the shadows of objects which are the greatest guides to observers in aeroplanes”.[6] Noting that colours in Australia are more visible at a distance than in England, he helped devise a set of camouflage colours suited to the Australian landscape.[7] He warned against the visibility of new aerodromes cut into the Australian bush.[8] And from the outset of the war he was highly critical of the Australian military for lack of planning, when time and money could be saved “if in view of modern methods of warfare, new aerodromes, forts and camps were constructed in the first place to meet the requirements of camouflage”.[9] This placed him on a collision course with the military.

{3} In 1941 Dakin was seconded by the Commonwealth Government to the Defence Central Camouflage Committee, located within the Department of Home Security.[10] This committee was set up to advise the military on camouflage, to research camouflage techniques and methods, and to coordinate civilian and military camouflage operations.[11] The military, however, had their own method of organising camouflage and their own history of camouflage practice. But Dakin was unimpressed. He issued a “Camouflage Bulletin” to the armed forces in which he wrote about “camouflage and complacency”.[12] By 1942 there were so many protests − particularly from the Army − about Dakin’s interference in military matters that a new arrangement had to be made. Finally, each of the services took control of its own camouflage operation, leaving the Defence Central Camouflage Committee to act as their advisory body only. The camouflage research station at George’s Heights, set up by the Department of Home Security for experimentation, was handed over to the Army.

{4} Dakin complained to the Prime Minister, John Curtin, that “our one sin is that we are a civilian body”.[13] In this letter he accused the Army of bad practice with camouflage in New Guinea. He blamed the deaths of many Australian soldiers in the jungle on the incorrect camouflage colours of their uniforms, arguing that “Army camouflage in New Guinea has now been questioned both in the Press and in Parliament”.[14] At the end of the war Dakin wrote what he hoped would be the definitive report on the organization of camouflage for “the prevention in the future of some of the errors of policy made in this war … the absence of due consideration to the subject in the pre-war period and in defence training and preparation.”[15] Chapter 13 of the report is titled ‘Difficulties in cooperation between the Services and the Department of Home Security’. In the preface to the report, he states that prior to the Second World War the Australian services had not made any special study of camouflage and that the action to take charge of the situation was initiated by civilians.[16]

{5} These “civilians” were members of the Sydney Camouflage Group, which was formed in 1939 and was made up primarily of artists, photographers, architects, scientists, engineers and civil servants. Dakin was the chairman, and on 26 April 1940 the group included Sydney Ure Smith, John D. Moore, Frank Hinder, Douglas Annand, Robert Emerson Curtis, Russell Roberts, Max Dupain and Adrian Feint.[17] They were a group of concerned citizens who worried about the slowness of Australia to develop strategies with camouflage. They shared the concern expressed by local academic Eric Ashby “that camouflage is still regarded in some quarters as a hobby rather than as an instrument of war.”[18] They were aware that in Britain “film directors, artists, architects, commercial artists, picture restorers, sculptors and many others, including a magician, have been enlisted in a special corps of camouflage specialists”.[19] The Sydney Camouflage Group undertook camouflage experiments, testing ideas with representatives of the Army, and Air Force. They collated their research into a book titled The art of camouflage, which was first printed in 1941 with approval by the Department of Defence Coordination and republished by the Government in 1942 for use by the military.

Sgt A. Palmer of the 2/23rd Battalion examines a “garnished net” during a course on concealment and deception at Wongabel, Qld, in November 1944
Sgt A. Palmer of the 2/23rd Battalion examines a “garnished net” during a course on concealment and deception at Wongabel, Qld, in November 1944.  C82341

{6} From the time of the First World War, thousands of artists and designers in Europe, the United States, Britain, and Australia were employed in the field of camouflage, and their influence on the military was profound.[20] Artists played a bigger role in the Second World War than before, because a much more innovative and lateral approach to camouflage was needed. This was in response to modern technologies and in particular to aerial surveillance and photographic technology using infra-red film. In Australia, too, a huge amount of research went into ways of fooling the aerial eye. The difference during the Second World War, as Dakin pointed out in The art of camouflage, was that camouflage became less to do with painting and more to do with structures − “modern camouflage is three-dimensional … the great essential is a vivid imagination”.[21] Camouflage painting was still important in order to make objects blend into their surroundings through colour matching, but painting was forced to become more elaborate. The principles of realistic painting were essential, but so also was countershading to hide the shadow of the underside of objects, and disruptive patterning to break up form in space. Camouflage nets helped in this regard. Nets were used in the First World War, and they remained an essential device in the Second World War. They were “garnished” in abstract patterns of material matching the colour of the surroundings, in order to conceal the object underneath and to diffuse any shadows that might be visible from the air.[22] But the Second World War is best remembered for its ubiquitous use of three-dimensional dummy objects and dummy installations, many of which were huge in scale. The expertise of set-designers, sculptors, photographers, and military engineers was brought to bear on these constructions.

{7} Dakin was determined to build an outstanding team of creative people to research and experiment with camouflage, and so he arranged for the secondment of members of the Sydney Camouflage Group to the Department of Home Security. On 10 July 1940 a conference was held in the New South Wales Premier’s Department to discuss the question of camouflage. Dakin addressed the audience to bring its attention to what he had previously described as “a small group of men who are really experts in the fields likely to be associated with Camouflage. The subjects of art, photography, paint manufacture, architecture, model making, science etc are represented by well known professional workers who have offered their help and are keenly interested.”[23] Dakin was a man with a mission, which was to open the eyes of the military and the government to the significance of camouflage in war, and to convince everyone that camouflage is an art and “not a sort of joke”.[24] His intention was to persuade the Government to recognise the Sydney Camouflage Group as the authoritative body on camouflage in Australia, and to convince it about the value of artists and photographers since “you can’t do anything without aerial photographs and without the close cooperation of men who [know] exactly what objects look like on the ground – not through having seen them once or twice, but whose job it is to constantly look at objects on the ground.”[25]

{8} After their secondment to the Department of Home Security, artists found themselves in a variety of roles, working alongside Army engineers, conducting camouflage instruction for the Air Force, and researching for the Navy. But the secondment of civilians into the field of camouflage led to tense and confusing working relations with the Australian military. On the one hand, “camoufleurs” with the Department of Home Security complained that their “official standing is undefined,”[26] and on the other that the armed forces were unhappy that civilians without the necessary practice or experience of war were playing such a big role in military activity. The experimental work of the Sydney Camouflage Group became public in 1939, and at once the Army offered its support but also claimed the territory. In a letter from the Minister of the Army, G. A. Street, Dakin was warmly invited to consult with camouflage experts at Victoria Barracks, but at the same time was reminded that “the Art of Camouflage is a part of military science which has been developed only after considerable research and experiment.”[27] Tensions between both parties developed steadily from this point.

{9} It is probably true that at the time of the Second World War, Australian artists and designers were not steeped in the history, philosophy, or practice of camouflage as a military science, but nevertheless artists and designers in general were major contributors to the war effort. Certain contemporary historians believe that “the artist, with his understanding of the subtleties of colour, tone and texture and his ability to draw on visual memory, has probably contributed the most to military camouflage in all its forms.”[28] In Australia, as in Europe and the United States, the job of the camoufleur was to create problems for the enemy with the visual interpretation of objects. Artists were employed because they had working knowledge of two very important principles – Abstraction, and Illusionism. These correspond with the two camouflage principles of Concealment and Deception. Artists had the facility to turn their knowledge of Abstraction towards Concealment, and their knowledge of Illusionism towards Deception.

{10} Camouflage officers with the Department of Home Security suffered from the perception that they were merely artists, and that art is a useless activity connected with decoration. As Technical Director of Camouflage in Australia, Dakin thought otherwise. He was adamant that camouflage was essential not optional to war, and that “camouflage was not a decoration to be stuck on something afterwards.”[29] Only by recognising the value of camouflage could good pre-planning occur. It was his view that before the construction of any installation on the ground, the structure of the building should incorporate camouflage into its design. Camoufleurs also suffered from the image that artists are abstract rather than pragmatic thinkers. So when artist Frank Hinder, who was attached to the Army, invented a “dummy dam” using the shine on upturned bottles to simulate the presence of a body of water, the “boys in the field had hysterics”.[30] The term “camoufleur” presented problems in itself, being too feminine. Acknowledging this, Frank Hinder ironically referred to himself and his colleagues as “camopansies”.[31]

Hinder Spider”, a garnished conical frame for concealing a man
The “Hinder Spider”, a garnished conical frame for concealing a man.  AWM PR88/133, 7 of 12

{11} There was nothing weak or ineffectual about Frank Hinder’s contribution to the Second World War. After the war he was awarded a grant of 50 for his invention which he named “The Hinder Spider”. It was a portable and collapsible frame for hanging camouflage nets over guns in the field. It was experimented with by the Sydney Camouflage Group, and Dakin praised it for being easy to carry and sturdy.[32] The Hinder Spider was a variation of an English object called the “Walgrove Spider”, redesigned by Hinder to make it “infinitely superior, cheap, light and inexpensive”.[33] It was used by Australians in the Middle East. Hinder also designed dummy aircraft, the drawings and photographs of which are in the Australian War Memorial among his personal records. They were made of hessian, timber and wire, able to be erected quickly and easily, and must have looked far more convincing from the air than on the ground.[34]

{12} Frank Hinder was involved with the earliest camouflage projects in Australia during the war. These were the concealment of military stores and oil tanks. He was responsible for preparing camouflage for bulk storage petrol tanks in Sydney, as well as at Newcastle and Port Kembla.[35] The schemes were worked out through the use of wooden models designed by sculptor Margel Hinder, which were built to scale and then photographed.[36] But as fears of Japanese invasion intensified, plans for camouflaging northern Australia, especially Darwin, became urgent. Hinder’s model for Darwin's naval oil tanks show how effective the scheme might have been,[37] but it was never put into practice because camouflage work had only just begun when the first air raid against Darwin took place.

{13} The earliest official public announcement of an urgent need to develop defensive camouflage work in Australia occurred in July 1941, when a report was published in the Sydney Morning Herald regarding a camouflage plan for all states.[38] By the end of that year, the urgency attached to efficient and effective camouflage operations led to a meeting between Dakin, the Minister for Home Security (H. P. Lazzarini), and the Secretary of the Department of the Interior (J. A. Carrodus), to discuss how to “speed-up” the work.[39] In December, in progress reports on camouflage schemes by the Directorate of Works, Department of Interior, money was allotted for camouflaging an RAAF aerodrome in Darwin.[40] Darwin was bombed in February 1942. This short time lapse between the alarm being given and the catastrophe happening indicates how little time Australia had to act in developing camouflage defence.

{14} The most debilitating attacks in Darwin were on the RAAF station and the city’s oil tanks. Ironically, the coastal trader Zealandia had just arrived in Darwin harbour on 19 February 1942, carrying camouflage materials from Sydney, when it was bombed in the first Japanese raid and sunk.[41] The question was raised whether better pre-planning of aerodromes and the incorporation of camouflage in the first instance would have prevented the huge loss of aircraft, and loss of life. Certainly Dakin thought so. In a report sent to Prime Minister Curtin, he emphasised that “camoufleurs ridiculed the design of the RAAF Station at Darwin at the beginning of 1941”.[42] In his view, better planning of camouflage for strategic military and civilian sites in Darwin would have significantly reduced their visibility from the air.

{15} Despite the fact that the Second World War used aerial warfare on an unprecedented scale, the Australian air force had no camouflage organization of its own. It became apparent that the RAAF required considerable assistance from the camouflage section of the Department of Home Security, not only with the construction of schemes, but also with instruction in camouflage methods and techniques.[43] Civil camouflage operations ceased at the end of 1942 in Australia, after the threat of Japanese invasion passed, and from this point on the work of civilian camoufleurs was directed to the RAAF. Camouflage courses for air force personnel were held at Sydney University and other training was conducted at aerodromes such as Bankstown.[44] Camouflage officers with the Department of Home Security were eventually issued with RAAF uniforms, but D. P. Mellor notes that “officers on RAAF aerodromes were not always willing to cooperate with civilians, who in any event were only there as advisers”.[45]

{16} The Second World War also used photography on an unprecedented scale. Photography, in particular aerial photography, was a crucial tool for camoufleurs because it was the best medium through which visual checks could be made on the success of camouflage. For this reason civilian photographers with the Department of Home Security were essential recruits to the camouflage section of the RAAF, and among them was Australia's most outstanding photographer, Max Dupain.

{17} After the first Japanese air raids, Dakin and Dupain travelled to Darwin to work on the camouflaging of strategic objects including oil tanks.[46] In 1942 Dupain also worked with the RAAF at Bankstown aerodrome, conducting experiments, and instructing air force officers. He experimented with light and shade, devising ways of eliminating the shadows thrown by objects on the ground, and with the concealment of objects from the aerial view. He recorded the success of his experiments photographically. Dupain was invaluable in the Second World War because his practice as an artist made him more knowledgeable than most about shadow and the tricks of perception. His photographs for the Department of Home Security were unlikely to be viewed as art at the time, but they are among some of his most visually fascinating images.

{18} Formally, there are strong connections between Dupain’s work and photographers of the Russian avant-garde and the Bauhaus, including Sergei Eisenstein and Lazlo Maholy-Nagy, who similarly used shadows as disruptive elements to form, in order to make the familiar look strange and forms difficult to read, with the intention of making the viewer look long and hard. The context in which this avant-garde photography was produced was the world of modern art and aesthetics, but similar principles were relevant to Dupain’s wartime experiments. In the practice of camouflage the same principle of disorientation, of making familiar objects appear strange, and making unfamiliar objects appear familiar, is very important. In war it is greatly advantageous to prevent an easy reading of an object, and to capture the attention of the enemy for a dangerously long period of time while he tries to make sense of what he is looking at.

{19} Dupain was eventually sent to the RAAF station on Goodenough Island in the South-West Pacific. In his autobiography, Max’s Dupain’s Australia, he recalls the year as 1944,[47] but the Australian War Memorial collection has photographs of Dupain in the company of fellow artists Robert Emerson Curtis and Clement Seale on Goodenough Island in 1943. In August 1943 Curtis was sent to report on the need for RAAF camouflage in New Guinea and eventually became the Officer-in-Charge of the Camouflage Section of the Department of Home Security stationed on Goodenough Island.[48] In March 1944 a camouflage section was established in New Guinea by the Department of Home Security.[49] Camouflage officers sent to the South-West Pacific were “carefully selected for inventiveness, practicability, and personality.”[50] Nearly all were accredited officers serving with the RAAF and Dakin’s intention was to station them in forward areas to advise commanding officers on all matters concerned with camouflage, especially the construction of decoy aircraft.[51]

Goodeenough Island, New Guinea, 1943. Left to right: Clement Seale (Australian soldier artist), Robert Emerson Curtis (camouflage officer attached to the RAAF) and Max Dupain (photographer) outside their hut.
Goodeenough Island, New Guinea, 1943. Left to right: Clement Seale (Australian soldier artist), Robert Emerson Curtis (camouflage officer attached to the RAAF) and Max Dupain (photographer) outside their hut.  C300026

{20} The use of dummies and decoys became more and more prevalent as the war progressed, especially as reports came to hand of the bluffs adopted by the Germans and Japanese. Dummies are three-dimensional structures rather than two-dimensional painted illusions, and they represent the most intriguing aspect of camouflage design in the Second World War. The extensive and inventive use of dummies by the Japanese was officially discussed within Australia on many occasions.[52] The double-bluff of the Japanese, whereby decoy aircraft were given “a childish kind of camouflage” causing them to be “mistaken for true works which have been insufficiently camouflaged,” became famous during the war.[53] Dakin’s stated aim was to achieve the success of the Germans since “anything which resembles an aerodrome in Germany is now regarded as a fake. To produce that effect in Australia is our aim but to achieve such with the old aerodromes is impossible”.[54] But the extent to which German camouflage techniques and methods were understood by the Allies raised the point that perhaps camouflage had become ineffective, especially when “any aerodrome, therefore, which is obviously an aerodrome is regarded with suspicion”.[55]

A student crouched behind a tree during a concealment course conducted at Headquarters 1 Corps at Wongabel, Qld, in November 1944.
A student crouched behind a tree during a concealment course conducted at Headquarters 1 Corps at Wongabel, Qld, in November 1944.

{21} While the Department of Home Security was preoccupied with aerodromes and camouflage in relation to the gaze of the aerial photographer, the Army’s approach to camouflage was to concentrate on concealment of the individual. Early in 1942 the Army separated from the camouflage organisation set up by the Department of Home Security.[56] This was certainly no loss to the Army since it had always trained its own camouflage officers, either at the Camouflage Wing at George’s Heights organised by the Army School of Military Engineering,[57] or through camouflage training units run by the Royal Australian Engineers.[58] Soldiers might not have been artistic by profession, but camouflage gave them an opportunity to explore their own creative potential. The Army devised a range of ingenious methods for concealment and deception, the plans for which can be found in the Memorial. They include a dummy tree stump to hide a man, made from the mould of a tree with a hinged door and spy holes; a collapsible “rock”; a collapsible “bush”; a collapsible “oil drum”. Once collapsed, these objects could be easily carried by an individual soldier.[59]

{22} The Army’s most memorable and imaginative camouflage event of the Second World War was the construction of dummy installations on Goodenough Island between January and April 1943.[60] Codenamed “Operation Hackney”, the objective was to deceive the Japanese into believing that the strategic island was occupied by a brigade, when in fact it was occupied by a small and struggling unit waiting for the reinforcement of a battalion.[61] The Japanese on the island had been recently defeated, but it was feared that they would attempt a reoccupation if they realised how weak was the Australian presence. The “arrival” of the brigade was staged with fake wireless messages and busy air and sea activity. The settlement of the “brigade” on the island was enacted through the installation of dummy camps, trucks, guns, tents, roads, and fortifications. These were all made quickly and cheaply from readily available materials shipped from Milne Bay, and some of which had been prefabricated by engineers with the New Guinea Camouflage Training Unit. Attention to “associated features” was meticulous since “all these little signs of life, these marks of our habits that we can’t get away from, or at least have great difficulty in avoiding, such things as tracks, fires, ablution arrangements, stores heaps, garbage, laundry and all other such items together, are what we refer to as associated features”.[62]

Imitation kitchens with fires continuously burning were part of the deception codenamed “Operation Hackney” that was employed on Goodenough Island, New Guinea, in 1943
Imitation kitchens with fires continuously burning were part of the deception codenamed “Operation Hackney” that was employed on Goodenough Island, New Guinea, in 1943.  C68279

{23} “Operation Hackney” was a great achievement, but Dakin, the principal organiser of camouflage in Australia, was neither informed about it nor involved in its planning. The Army did not consult the Defence Central Camouflage Committee before or during the operation, despite the Commonwealth having given clear instructions to the armed forces to follow this procedure. Dakin’s final report at the end of the war expressed disappointment that “the Department’s officers were only invited to help in camouflage work in New Guinea (apart from an early and minor investigation) in July 1943”.[63] Nevertheless, he congratulated the Army for “Operation Hackney” which he described as a “brilliant effort”.[64]

A camouflaged wooden gun on Goodenough Island
A camouflaged wooden gun on Goodenough Island.  C195106

{24} The success of “Operation Hackney” was even kept secret from the Australian public. Any information about camouflage was carefully censored during the war in the hope that with “a complete absence of any reference whatever to camouflage in the Commonwealth the enemy will remain ignorant of the present position”.[65] Certain information in the Press was permissible. For example, the public were informed of Dakin’s appointment and of the Government’s intention to establish the Defence Central Camouflage Committee with camouflage directorates in all states of Australia.[66] The public was also told that the mission of all camouflage operations was to protect vital and vulnerable sites in Australia from attack by air, and that the Commonwealth had the power to order any owner of any establishment or site to camouflage it.[67] But since there was a general fear that the enemy was already infiltrated within Australia in the form of spies, it was agreed that any details of camouflage operations would be censored from newspapers.

{25} Although the public were largely ignorant of developments with camouflage and its organization in Australia during the war, individuals were keen to submit their own schemes to help protect Australia from invasion. Their ideas were forwarded to Dakin for evaluation and response. These included: the attachment of incendiary devices onto birds migrating to Japan; a deception scheme for Centennial Park to make it appear to be Sydney Harbour, thereby disorienting enemy bombers; and the attachment of mirrors to war ships to make them invisible on the water.[68] The idea of using mirrors to hide ships was actually tested by camouflage officers in the Department of Home Security. These experiments were photographed to find the right conditions under which ships become invisible.[69] But mirrored ships was one of many camouflage experiments that never progressed beyond the experimental stage.

{26} The Department of Home Security wound back its camouflage operation drastically during 1944, and by December there were only 15 camouflage officers remaining in the Department: six in the research section in Sydney, two at the instructional pool at Townsville, four in Darwin, and three in New Guinea.[70] The work of the Camouflage Committee was considered complete in 1945. Before he died in 1950, Dakin compiled a “History of Camouflage 1939-1945” to properly document the operations and research of camouflage during the war for the benefit of future generations. This document is held in the Australian War Memorial. How does his report affect the world today? It is a reminder of the furious pace at which the science of war has accelerated, and the relatively primitive methods of camouflage in the Second World War. In its conclusion, Dakin recalled how camouflage has evolved from a practice intended to deceive the eye, to one that deceived the camera, then the radar. But, he reflected gravely, “what is to be the position with the advent of the Atomic Bomb?”[71]

© Dr Ann Elias

The author

Dr Ann Elias is a senior lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. Her current research focuses on the contribution of Australian artists and designers to war camouflage, looking in particular at the question of visual deception and the psychology of perception. This investigation furthers a special interest in the intersection between social history and aesthetics expressed through the medium of photography. An article by her about “Operation Hackney” on Goodenough Island in 1943 appeared in Wartime, the official magazine of the Australian War Memorial, issue 20.


[1] Guy Hartcup, Camouflage: a history of concealment and deception in war (Newton Abbot, Devon: David and Charles, 1979), p. 7.

[2] For example, there is no mention of camouflage in P. Cochrane, Australians at war (Sydney: ABC Books, 2001). The most comprehensive account of the organization of camouflage in the Second World War in Australia is D. P. Mellor, The role of science and industry in Australia in the war of 1939-1945, series 4, vol. 5 (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1958).

[3] Colonel John F. Ohmer, lecture to US Armed Forces, California, 15 September 1943, p. 4., National Archives of Australia (NSW), C1707, item 36, Air Intelligence Reports.

[4] I. C. B. Dear (ed), The Oxford companion to World War II (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 220.

[5] “Preplanning camouflage”, report by W. J. Dakin, 27 October 1942, p.1, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 57.

[6] “Notes of conference held at Premier’s Department”, 9 July 1940, p. 7, NAA (NSW), SP1048/7, item S10/1/329.

[7] W. J. Dakin, The art of camouflage, Department of Home Security, with approval of Department of Defence Coordination, Commonwealth of Australia, 1942, p. 68.

[8] Mellor, p. 542.

[9] Dakin, The art of camouflage, p. 6.

[10] In Mellor’s view, “the inevitable clash between army and civilian authority came not over the question of who had the more experience but over the question of who should control camouflage activities”; p.539.

[11] W.J. Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, Australian War Memorial, series 81 [77 part 1], 1947, p. 46.

[12] "Camouflage Bulletin no. 11", 4 December 1942, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 46.

[13] W. J. Dakin to Hon. John Curtin, 30 September 1942, p. 2, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 19.

[14] Dakin to Curtin, 30 September 1942, p. 1, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 19.

[15] Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, Introduction, p. 6.

[16] Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, Preface, point 3.

[17] Frank Hinder, personal records, Australian War Memorial, series 895/4/182, item 7 of 12, p. 7.

[18] "Camouflage plan", Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 1941, p. 4.

[19] "That enemy camera is hard to trick", in Daily and Sunday Telegraph, 23 October 1941, clipping in Frank Hinder files, Australian War Memorial PR88/133, 895/4/182, item 7 of 12.

[20] The two main authorities on the topic of European and US modernism and war camouflage are R. Behrens, False colours: art, design and modern camouflage (Dysart, Iowa: Bobolink Books, 2002) and Hartcup, Camouflage.

[21] Dakin, The art of camouflage, p. 5.

[22] The majority of nets were made by women in organisations such as the National Defence League’s Women’s Auxiliary. See “Value of nets” in Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 1942, p. 3. Professor Dakin trained female students in the Zoology Department of Sydney University in net-making, and two of the lecturers from that department in turn trained women in the Women’s Defence League. See Mellor, p. 536.

[23] Dakin to Colonel W. J. Locke, 4 January 1940, in Camouflage organisation, NAA (NSW), SP1008/1, item 469/2/28.

[24] "Notes of conference held at Premier's Department", 9 July 1940, p. 5, NAA (NSW), SP1048/7, item S10/1/329.

[25] "Notes of conference held at Premier's Department", 9 July 1940, p. 5, NAA (NSW), SP1048/7, item S10/1/329.

[26] Camoufleur Charles O’Harte to Sgt. D. H. Wilson, Department of Home Security, Townsville, 25 February 1943, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 4.

[27] Letter from G. A. Street to Dakin, 22 November 1939, NAA (NSW), SP1008/1, item 469/2/28.

[28] Hartcup, Camouflage: a history of concealment and deception in war, p. 8.

[29] "Preplanning Camouflage", report by W. J. Dakin, 27 October 1942, p. 1, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 57.

[30] Frank Hinder diaries, personal records, AWM PR88/133, 895/4/182.

[31] Frank Hinder diaries, personal records, AWM PR88/133, 895/4/182.

[32] Dakin, The art of camouflage, p. 76.

[33] Frank Hinder diaries, personal records, AWM PR88/133, 895/4/182, item 7 of 12.

[34] Michael Bogle is the pioneer of research into Australian war design and in his book Design in Australia 1880-1970 (Sydney: Craftsman House, 1998), he devotes a significant chapter to the achievements of Hinder and other artists in the Second World War; see p. 94.

[35] Frank Hinder diaries, personal records, AWM PR88/133, 895/4/182, item 7 of 12, p. 1.

[36] Frank Hinder diaries, personal records, AWM PR88/133, 895/4/182, item 7 of 12, p. 1.

[37] Frank Hinder diaries, personal records, AWM PR88/133, 895/4/182, item 7 of 12.

[38] "Camouflage plan in all states", Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1941, p. 8.

[39] "Camouflage speed-up", Sydney Morning Herald, 24 December 1941, p. 9.

[40] Progress report no. 25, dated 3 June 1942, NAA (NSW), C1904, T1, item 18.

[41] Mellor, p. 539.

[42] Report on “Camouflage in Australia", sent to Hon. J. Curtin by H. P. Lazzarini, 31 March 1942, p. 3, NAA (ACT), A816/1, item 49/301/276.

[43] Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, Preface, point 2.

[44] Mellor, p. 538.

[45] Mellor, The role of science and industry, p. 542.

[46] M. Dupain, Max Dupain’s Australia (Ringwood, Vic: Viking, 1986), p. 15.

[47] Dupain, Max Dupain’s Australia, p. 16.

[48] Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, pp. 104-5.

[49] Minute, “Camouflage organisation in New Guinea", Department of Home Security, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 32.

[50] Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, p. 105.

[51] "Camouflage Directorate, Department of Home Security", 22 September 1943, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 32.

[52] Report by Dakin, “Japanese camouflage as discovered in the SW Pacific Area”, March 1944, p.6, NAA (NSW), C1707, file 65.

[53] "Comments on Official Japanese Naval Publication dealing with the essentials of camouflage", by Dakin, p. 2, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 36.

[54] "Camouflage in Australia", by Dakin, 31 March 1942, p. 3, NAA (NSW), C1707/30 item 1.

[55] Dakin, The art of camouflage, p. 74.

[56] Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, Preface, p. 1.

[57] "Official camouflage information, research and organisation in Australia", dated 12 May 1942, and sent to Army officers, AWM 54, 161/3/16.

[58] Unit camouflage diaries are held in the Australian War Memorial.

[59] "Plans, drawings and photographs of methods of camouflage and concealment", AWM 54, 161/3/29.

[60] "Operation Hackney: Goodenough Island deception scheme”, AWM 54 [585/3/1].

[61] "When a Ghost Force held back the Japanese", Public Relations Office, HQ 5 Aust.Div, 20 April 1943, AWM 545 [79/7/14].

[62] "Operation Hackney: Goodenough Island deception scheme”, address to leaders of working parties, p. 3 (pt. 19 e), AWM 54 [585/3/1].

[63] Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, p. 98.

[64] Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, p. 82.

[65] A. W. Welch to the Chief Publicity Censor, 8 June 1942, NAA (NSW), SP106/1, item PC 490.

[66] "Camouflage plan in all states", Sydney Morning Herald, 16 July 1941, p. 8.

[67] "Camouflage plan", Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 1941, p. 4.

[68] Camouflage proposals submitted by the public, NAA (NSW), C1707, item 5.

[69] "Experiments made in which results were not utilized in practice", in Dakin's Camouflage report 1939-1945, p. 117.

[70] "Camouflage organisation−administration”, vol. 1, p. 5, NAA (ACT), CP 951/1/1.

[71] Dakin, Camouflage report 1939-1945, p. 152, point 15.