153RD STATION HOSPITAL
BASE SECTION 3
INITIALLY AT GATTON THEN
AT SOUTHPORT, GOLD COAST, QLD
DURING WW2

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The 153rd Station Hospital arrived in Queensland in 1942 and took over, with one day's notice, the Gatton Agricultural College near Gatton west of Brisbane. The 105th Station Hospital later occupied Gatton College. In the three years that these two hospitals occupied Gatton College, more than 19,000 wounded servicemen passed through the the college. Some 3,000 doctors, nurses and other administrative personnel served in the hospitals based at Gatton.

Official Station List of Troops in the SWPA show locations for the 153rd Station Hospital as follows:-

17th Edition - 19 Jun 42 Brisbane area - probably Gatton
25th Edition - 8 Sep 42 Brisbane area - probably Gatton, it was shown as “Under orders to Maple” which is the code for Port Moresby
26th Edition - 19 Sep 42 Townsville
52nd Edition - 23 Apr 43 Southport
56th Edition - 23 Jun 43 Southport
60th Edition - 1 Sep 43 Southport
64th Edition - 23 Oct 43 Southport
69th Edition - 8 Jan 43 Southport
74th Edition - 23 Mar 44 Southport
78th Edition - 8 Jul 44 Southport

There are gaps in the Station Lists that I have as you can see, and on 8 September 1942, the 153rd Station Hospital was under orders to go to Port Moresby. The unit was apparently in Port Moresby by October 1942 and as can be seen by the above Station Lists it was back at Southport in south east Queensland some time before 23 April 1943. Possibly in February 1943.

The 166th Station Hospital was also based at The Southport School during WWII. The Civilian Construction Corp commenced work at The Southport School on 2 April 1943, and established a bivouac area to construct new buildings to extend the hospital facilities at the school.

In May 1944, Lt. Colonel J.H. Marshall was the Commanding Officer of the 153rd Station Hospital of Base Section 3 at the The Southport School, at Southport on the Gold Coast in southern Queensland.

Some of the units located at the hospital in May 1944 were:-

Helen Hoffman was a nurse with the 153rd Station Hospital at The Southport School. It was here that Helen met her future husband Mark Muller who was a signals officer at Base Section 3 Headquarters, at Somerville House Girls School in Brisbane. Helen Muller (nee Hoffman) passed away on 7 July 2004.

Dr. Robert B. Hope, was an American Doctor with the 153rd Station.  Hospital based at The Southport School. The following is an entry from his diary:-

"Southport March 2: We are all a little dazed by our good fortune; afraid we'll wake up to find it was only a dream. The 153 has acquired the very attractive ivy-covered buildings of a boys' school, built to house 200 boys and their masters - not very adequate as a hospital that must expand to 650 beds. However, we are back in the land of plenty: lumber, nails, mosquito netting and lots of help. After New Guinea this is a pleasure."

"To top off our good fortune, Southport is a heavenly spot. It is full of friendly people, a clean, sleepy little town (in peacetime a prime summer resort)…The 153 medical unit served the 32nd Division fighting the rough New Guinea and Island campaigns. When our patients were discharged they went on R & R to Coolangatta, a resort town on another unbelievable beach."

Marcia Mayo's mother, Perrie "Chick" Ling, from Jerome, Arizona was a physical therapist at the 153rd Station Hospital at The Southport School. Marcia believes her mother arrived in Brisbane on Christmas Day 1943 and stayed about a year. Her first posting was at what she called the Boys School at Southport and then at the US Army's 42nd General Hospital at Stuartholme in Brisbane. Marcia mother said that, while at Southport, they did not do much work because the patients had already been there a while and they were just doing R and R until they had to go back to work. She said that everybody hung out at the beach most of the time. After she was moved to Stuartholme, the hospital received some of the Bataan Death March people.

 

The Southport School (TSS) on the beautiful Gold Coast.
Surfers Paradise can be seen in the background.

 

There used to be some old long low buildings in the area at the middle right of the photo

The main building (clock tower building) and wooden classroom block were used for the hospital. The Australian Civil Construction Corps constructed on the western side three long single story ward buildings, annex to gymnasium and a large garage. Several tents were also erected on the front lawn. The garage at the school was used as a theatre but was eventually demolished for building works a few years ago. 

 


Photo:- Perrie Ling via Marcia Mayo

Main building at The Southport School

 


Photo:- Perrie Ling via Marcia Mayo

Note the military tents at the left of this photograph

 


Photo:- Perrie Ling via Marcia Mayo

View of the main school building

 


Photo:- Perrie Ling via Marcia Mayo

This building was used as the Nurses Quarters at The Southport School

 


Photo:- Perrie Ling via Marcia Mayo

Photograph of the grounds looking towards the ocean. The striped
 tent at the left side of the photograph was the theatre tent.

 


Photo:- Perrie Ling via Marcia Mayo

Local street scene near The Southport School. The Photo was taken from Jerk's Store

 

Some of the buildings were sold for removal at the end of the war. During war rationing, you could buy almost anything from their PX.  One of the shed's that was sold was moved to Kret's cordial factory in Southport. During this operation one person was killed when he fell from the roof of the building.

The Southport School is an Anglican day and boarding school on the Gold Coast for boys from Prep Year to Year 12,was founded in 1901.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bill Bentson, Marcia Mayo, Alain Batens, Nelson Lawry and Cindy Entriken for their assistance with this home page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

I need your help

Copyright

©  Peter Dunn 2015

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"Australia @ War"
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This page first produced 9 February 2003

This page last updated 16 October 2016