The excitement of Cold War espionage was well and truly gripping the capital.
The start of a royal commission into spying was of such consequence that "every hotel, guest house and hostel in Canberra'' had been booked by people from all parts of Australia and overseas eager to hear explosive details of Soviet eavesdropping, snooping and general skullduggery in Australia.
The venue was the Albert Hall, tricked out to be "one of the most comfortable court rooms in Australia'' and with enough froom for more than 60 media.
Three commissioners were set for a multi-day hearing that was part of the response to the defection of former Soviet Third Secretary Vladimir Petrov, to this day still one of Canberra's most thrilling news events.
The commission's terms of reference were to hear about info given by Petrov on Russian spy activity, general inquiries into said spying, whether Australians had been feeding info to the Russians and whether any Australians had helped out spy rings. See: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/page/702867#