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This paper describes a graphical representation formalism, hierarchical activity cycle diagrams (H-ACD). H-ACDs are based on more abstract modelling concepts formulated in Pooley's extended activity cycle diagrams. The abstraction mechanism expressed more loosely in his ideas of configuration diagrams has been realised to its full extent to create a detailed graphical representation form to be used for object-oriented modelling and design of simulation programs. The diagrams are currently been used as the basis for a graphical user interface to support automatic program generation of simulation models for manufacturing systems applications. The diagrams nevertheless can be used generally as a tool to assist analysis and design of simulation systems, enabling a hierarchical, modular and uniform view throughout the whole model development process of a wide range of discrete event simulation programs.