Today’s the day The Codebreakers is released in Australia and New Zealand in print and e-book! It’s a story very close to my heart as it’s inspired by the real-life codebreaking women in Brisbane in WWII.
When I first learned about the Garage Girls and Central Bureau, it felt like a treasure trove of endless stories had been unearthed. Female codebreakers in Australia in World War II? Who were they? What did they do? Why had we not heard about them before? My investigating led me into an amazing world and I’ve met and interviewed many fascinating and courageous people who worked for Central Bureau and other signals intelligence departments and outposts. They generously shared stories not only about the work, but their personal experiences of living with secrets and how it affected their lives during and after the war.
People who worked top-secret jobs during the war often felt there was an invisible wedge in the relationships with their loved ones. For those families, to know someone for decades and learn about this other life they led was sometimes shocking and hard to fathom but, more often, it was a source of immense pride. Learning about the reaction of family and friends, and the relief of Central Bureau members after they could finally tell their story, gave me great insight when creating the characters in The Codebreakers.
Many of the real-life women of Central Bureau had never lived away from home or experienced any degree of independence. When they joined this elite organisation most were young, often without tertiary qualifications but with natural aptitude for the work they did. Not only did they learn new skills and adapt to working in non-traditional roles in a male-dominated environment, they had other challenges to deal with such as homesickness, the grief of losing loved ones and the heavy responsibility of working with some of the country’s biggest secrets.
The Codebreakers is the result of two years of research which included countless interviews with the actual codebreakers who inspired the story of Ellie and the Garage Girls. I hope you enjoy learning about these amazing women and help the legacy of their work live on!
The Codebreakers is available at all book retailers in-store and online, including: