A WARNING: Those site visitors of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Culture should be aware that there are photographs and images of the deceased.

The author of this blog is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and as such the views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the views and opinions of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, its staff or Directors.

Learn more about the Association including membership requirements at

The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Saturday, 22 October 2016



More than 500 of the Dunera Boys from the Tatura Internment Camp 'volunteered' to join one of a number of Labour Battalions, comprised almost exclusively of internees, set up specifically to provide labour for the war effort. 

The Dunera Boys all joined the 8th Employment Company often referred to as the 8th Enjoyment Company. They had many manual tasks to perform, some went to Albury and worked transshipping cargo from the Victorian Broad Gauge railway to the Standard Gauge rail system of NSW. Others were employed in similar tasks but in Melbourne loading at the docks.

'Loading, unloading, shifting, stacking, restacking, stencilling and what not..' wrote one young Dunera boy in his diary during 1942.

Stencilling was not only the work of Navy men, it was commonplace throughout Australia and in instances such as the one described.

In the image below, you can see the stencillers brush amongst the items found in the Somerton Man's suitcase. Further down in this post you can see a modern day stencil brush for comparison, the Somerton Man brush is of a standard size which I estimate to be 3/4 inch.

The knife and scissors would have formed part of his stencilling kit being used to cut through the thin zinc from which his templates would have been made.

If you look closely at the knife, you can see where the taped part of the scabbard ends and then you can make out a short section of zinc fashioned to form the scabbard, it ends just before the handle. There appears to be some kind of marking on tape applied to that zinc, could be writing but not mentioned in the files.

In the image to the right is a modern day stencil brush and the similarity is quite obvious.

Whilst the image below is of a stencil created and used at the Hay Internment camp, the initial home of the Dunera Boys.


So now we can tick off the stencil kit in addition to the shoes, the slippers, the items of clothing with the exception of the Jacket SM was wearing when found. The cigarette lighter was made by an Australian company, Green & Co and was commonly available through most large stores such as Coles and the Myer Emporiums.

The next post will be a key post because it will provide us with locations in Melbourne where all parties could have met during 1942/43. All things being equal, that post will be uploaded by Wednesday 26th October.


  1. This begs the question: why was analyst Cowan unable to identify what must have been a common substance?

    1. Good question, the Police described it as a stencil brush, why not follow through with dried stencilling ink?