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Who was Leo Mahony?


Mr Leo Mahony was the foundation National Secretary of the Royal United Services Institute of Australia and was a long-standing Defence civil servant. After joining the Commonwealth public service in the Department of Army and then the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), now known as Australian Signals Directorate, Leo Mahony did an arts degree majoring in political science. He wrote a history of the DSD and subsequently served in the Australian Embassy in Thailand.


Leo was secretary to several of the highest-level committees in the Department of Defence in the late 1970s, had an in-depth knowledge and interest in Australia's defence and security and participated in high level forums for over 20 years. Outside his official job, Leo had a deep and abiding devotion to the Royal United Services Institute of Australia. 

Shortly after becoming Secretary of the United Service Institution of the Australian Capital Territory, together with the then President, Major General Ron Hughes, he proposed to the various state United Service Institutions that a national body be set up. This was agreed in 1974, and Leo had a key role in coordinating the national body inception. He laid the groundwork in putting in place what became a well-respected national institution which receives an annual grant from the Federal government. The national body remains an important institution that, through its state constituent bodies, conducts seminars and discussions on the defence and security of Australia. The national RUSI also conducts international seminars annually. The Royal United Services Institute, as a national institution, would not exist today had it not been for the work and devotion of Leo Mahony.  

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