Spies in the Suburbs

26 Aug 2022, 5:30pm
Queensland Museum Cobb+Co, Toowoomba

Join us for a unique night at the museum and hear first-hand the poignant account of a peculiar childhood in 1950s suburban Brisbane. In celebration of our current exhibition Spy: Espionage in Australia, we will welcome author of With My Little Eye Sandra Hogan and one of the subjects of her book, Sue-Ellen Doherty. 

Growing up in the 1950s, Sue-Ellen and her two siblings were trained by their parents to memorise car number plates, to spot unusual behaviour on the street and, most important of all, to avoid drawing attention to themselves. The children became unwitting foot soldiers in Australia’s battle against Soviet infiltration during the Cold War. They attended political rallies, stood watch on houses owned by communist sympathisers, and insinuated themselves into the UFO Society. In 1956 the Doherty family went on a beach holiday with Vladimir and Evdokia 'Peewee' Petrov, the famous Soviet defectors, who were hiding from Soviet assassins. 

Dudley and Joan Doherty swore their children to secrecy, and for decades, they didn’t even discuss among themselves the work they did for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). Hear from Sandra and Sue-Ellen as they shed light on the unique childhood of the Doherty children and their parents in 50s and 60s suburban Australia. 

Your ticket includes entry to the talk with Sandra and Sue-Ellen, a beverage of your choice on arrival and a tasting plate for one. You are also invited to tour the Spy: Espionage in Australia exhibition by night. Cobb’s Coffee Shop will be open with a limited menu.  

Presented by Cobb + Co Museum