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Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...
Alfred Austin Joseph (Alf) Conlon
(1908-1961) the creative force behind, and head of the Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
n World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs
DORCA, the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs was a mysterious and difficult to categorise think tank and possibly intelligence organisation within the Australian Army in WWII....
Conlon is a controversial figure, whose influence has been felt throughout the Pacific region in the second half of the 20th century, though the Australian School of Pacific Administration
The Australian School of Pacific Administration was a tertiary institution established by the Australian Government to train administrators and later school teachers to work in Papua New Guinea...
which grew out of the Directorate. Conlon was Principal of the ASOPA between John Kerr's resignation to return to medical practice in 1948 and 1950.
Described as "Svengali
Svengali is a fictional character of George du Maurier's 1894 novel Trilby. Svengali "would either fawn or bully and could be grossly impertinent. He had a kind of cynical humour that was more offensive than amusing and always laughed at the wrong thing, at the wrong time, in the wrong place...
like" and notorious, Conlon created the mysterious Directorate in part as a haven for artists and intellectuals to avoid repeating the slaughter of the best minds of a generation that had impoverished Australian culture after the losses of the First World War. Conlon was influenced by libertarian philosopher, John Anderson
John Anderson was a Scottish-born Australian philosopher who occupied the post of Challis Professor of Philosophy at Sydney University in the years 1927-1958. He founded the empirical brand of philosophy known as Australian realism...
and by James Burnham's The Managerial Revolution
a book extolling the virtues of a bureaucratic meritocracy.
Conlon was a charismatic figure, and had many friends in high places including H. V. Evatt
Herbert Vere Evatt, QC KStJ , was an Australian jurist, politician and writer. He was President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1948–49 and helped draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights...
and Herbert "Nugget" Coombs. He cultivated many contacts including Prime Minister John Curtin
John Joseph Curtin , Australian politician, served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia. Labor under Curtin formed a minority government in 1941 after the crossbench consisting of two independent MPs crossed the floor in the House of Representatives, bringing down the Coalition minority...
and General Stantke.