This website contains various items pertinent to the researches of Peter Donovan and John Mack into the work of a small group of academic staff of the University of Sydney directed at the breaking of Japanese military and diplomatic codes during ww2.

It is currently a dynamic site and will be developed to include published articles by us or by others based on our work, as well as links and references to key documents accessible via the web, plus an annotated bibliography (a PDF file) covering many aspects of codebreaking and intelligence work relevant to our studies. Presently available is an article which is substantially the same as a two-part article published in the Gazette of the Australian Mathematical Society, 2002. An article covering this research has also appeared in the University of Sydney Gazette, September 2002.

Critical questions that aroused our interest in this project were: How did it happen that a group of 4 Sydney University academics were examining Japanese and other postal and telegraphic communications, supplied by the Army, long before the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor? Why was a group in Sydney doing this when Military HQ were in Melbourne? How did this group become a part of official Military Intelligence operations in Melbourne (and later also in Brisbane)? Most importantly- what did each of them do between 1940 and the final winding up of this work in 1946?

While we believe we now have a good understanding of the answers to these questions, some major aspects remain unclear, despite much help from archival sources in Australia, from many published works on the subject of codebreaking, from freely given advice from expert academic and other colleagues, and from conversations and contacts with survivors of ww2 intelligence operations in Australia.

We confidently anticipate more usable information coming to light as interested people learn of this site, access it, and realise they have information that would be of assistance to us.

Dr Peter Donovan is a member of staff of the School of Mathematics at the University of NSW. His email address is

Dr John Mack is an honorary staff member of the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney. His email address is