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The extraordinary double life of a spy growing up in the suburbs

Deborah Knight
Article image for The extraordinary double life of a spy growing up in the suburbs

While from the outside, the Dohertys were an average suburban family, its members harboured an extraordinary secret. 

Parents Dudley and Joan were ASIO spies working for Australia during the Red Peril, when international relations with Russia were increasingly tense.

All three of their children were involved in their operations, trained to keep great secrets from a young age.

After decades of silence, the Doherty siblings have opened up to author Sandra Hogan, who has published their story in her new book With My Little Eye.

Sue-Ellen, the eldest daughter, spoke to Deborah Knight on her childhood experiences.

“My parents made a definite strategic decision to include us.

“As a mother, I am gobsmacked that they managed to do it so well.

“We were taught to trust our senses and to me, that’s something we kind of miss in modern day.”

But since growing older, Sue-Ellen’s understanding of her childhood has shifted. She believes she never truly knew her father, who died when she was 17.

“It wasn’t until I was an adult with children of my own … that I started to think about who would do that to their family.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview 

 

Image: Allen & Unwin

Deborah Knight
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