Wartime and The American Chapter

There are a number of poignant memorials located in public spaces and churches around the city of Brisbane commemorating the sacrifices made by Australians in conflicts ranging from the Boer War to Vietnam. Lest We Forget. 

The MacArthur Museum is a reminder of the days when "the Yanks" filled the city’s streets and Queenslanders lived in the shadow of invasion. Queensland served as an important base for American forces, with almost 100,000 Americans based in Brisbane at the peak of World War II. Their arrival transformed Brisbane, and also led to conflict with some locals who described them as "oversexed, overpaid and over here". 

Physical evidence of our enduring deep appreciation and respect for the freedom enjoyed by current generations stand as testament to the supreme sacrifices made by so many to protect and shape the future of our great nation … and our great new world city. Our Greeters can show you these touching memorials. Experiences may include:

Anzac Square park

Anzac Square

Anzac Square also includes the Shrine of Remembrance, Shrine of Memories and Women’s War Memorial, and commemorates those who fought in wars as long ago as 1899. The square itself was constructed in 1930. Topping the stairs leading from the square are the Shrine and Eternal Flame of Remembrance and in the subway beneath are the Shrine of Memories and a Crypt holding plaques honouring men and women of specialist units. Three paths radiate through the square from the bottom of the shrine, representing the three branches of the Australian armed forces – army, navy and air force.

 These paths pass between palm trees representing victory and the exploits of units such as the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East in World War II.

Shrine of Remembrance

Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine consists of a circular colonnade of 18 columns representing 1918, the year of peace at the end of World War I. Written around the top coping are the names of the battles in which Australian units figured prominently - ANZAC, Cocos Islands, Romani, Jerusalem, Damascus, Pozieres, Bullecourt, Messines, Ypres, Amiens, Villers-Bretonneaux, Mont St Quentin and Hindenburg Line.

The Shrine is reached via two impressive, sweeping stone staircases. In the centre is the Eternal Flame of Remembrance, set in a bronze urn with the word Remembrance repeated around the bottom.

Shrine of Memories

Shrine of Memories

In the subway below the Shrine of Remembrance are the Shrine of Memories and the Crypt. The Crypt was established in 1930 and, in a cathedral-like atmosphere, contains tributes to Australian and allied servicemen and women. There you can view the mosaic designed by Don Ross, comprising over 140,000 small pieces of hand-cut Venetian glass enamels unveiled on 10 August 1984.

The Queensland Cameron Highlanders’ tribute in the crypt leaves a poignant message for all generations: "When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today."

Women's War Memorial

Women's War Memorial

The Queensland Women's War Memorial is located on the western wall of Anzac Square, below the Shrine of Remembrance, and was unveiled in 1932 as an initiative of the Brisbane Women's Club and funded by public subscription. Designed and sculpted by renowned local sculptress Daphne Mayo, it has two significant components.

The most obvious of these is bas relief in Helidon sandstone depicting a number of soldiers and horsemen with horse-drawn guns in a military procession. Above this an inscription reads: "Erected by the Women of Queensland in memory of those who lost their lives through The Great War 1914-1918."

MacArthur the man

MacArthur Museum, General Douglas MacArthur

On July 23, 1942 a train pulled into the interstate platform of South Brisbane station, and the focus of the war in the Pacific shifted to Brisbane. On the train was General Douglas MacArthur, who had been appointed the Commander in Chief, South West Pacific Area, by President Roosevelt and decided to set up his general headquarters in the AMP Building on the corner of Queen and Edward Sts in the city.

His offices, on the eighth floor, now house the MacArthur Museum. From here, General MacArthur directed the Allied forces against the Japanese. You can visit General MacArthur's office, watch movie footage of World War II, and inspect other memorabilia that recall the man who was as remarkable as he was controversial.

Submariners Walk Heritage Trail, New Farm-Teneriffe

During World War II, the New Farm-Teneriffe waterfront was used as a US naval base for visiting submarines. As a special commemoration of the submariners, there exists a Submariners Walk Heritage Trail that stretches along 600m of the boardwalk between New Farm and Teneriffe. 

It is a memorial to the Australian and US submariners who were based at the Capricorn Wharf at Teneriffe during World War II. Five of the US submarines that left Teneriffe to go on patrol never came back – lost with all their crew. About 70 US submarines used the Capricorn Wharf for maintenance and repairs during the war, and for the last three months of 1942 there were as many US submarines operating from Brisbane as from Pearl Harbor. 

Military Monuments in Newstead Park

Military Monuments, Newstead Park

Newstead House was occupied by American troops during World War II. There is an Australian-American War Memorial in Newstead Park in memory of this, alongside many other tributes. In May each year, Newstead Park hosts the commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

This was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.