NORTH AMERICAN SERVICE CLUB B14
AMERICAN RED CROSS
380 FLINDERS STREET WEST, TOWNSVILLE, QLD
|visits since 16 January 2003|
The North American Service Club B14 for African American soldiers opened at 380 Flinders Street in Townsville in October 1942. The Club was operated out of two adjoining shops. The Special Services were not keen on the establishment of this Service Club as they preferred to discourage blacks from going into the city area.
The Supply Section of US Base Section 2 Engineers set themselves up in two small shops at 380 and 381 Flinders Street West on 22 April 1942. Perhaps these were the same two shops used by the North American Service Club.
S.L. George Rees was in charge of the club. Jack Bond then arrived in Townsville from Cairns in July 1943. Grace Outlaw and Clara Wells also worked at the North American Services Club assisting Jack Bond. They were among the first black women the American Red Cross had sent outside of the United States during WW2. In May 1944 the Club Director was Samuel B. Taylor. The club was not allowed to recruit any "colored" girls from Townsville, They later recruited 3 Aboriginal women to work at the club.
|Eleanor Roosevelt visiting the
North American Service Club
Photo from Gordon Heup of the 48th Quartermaster Truck Regiment who camped near the Cluden Race Track and then at Railway Estate
On 21 July 1943 Bishop John Gregg and Chaplain DeVeaux visited the Townsville Red Cross Center (North American Service Club) where they they had lunch with Mr. Bond at midday. They spoke with a white worker called Miss Frazier, who was from Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Bishop Gregg indicated that the Townsville Red Cross Center (North American Service Club) was not as nice as the ones he had seen in Brisbane and Sydney. Apparently Mr. Bond advised that he was looking for a new location.
The North American Service Club closed on 31 August 1944. This left the black troops with no recreational facilities.
Does anyone remember the North American Service Club?
Could someone send me a photograph of 380 Flinders Street?
I'd like to thank Faith DeVeaux for her assistance with this home page. Faith's grandfather, Chaplain De Veaux accompanied Bishop John Gregg on an inspection tour of black troops in Australia in 1943.
"Yanks Down Under 1941-45"
by Daniel and Annette Potts (pages 110-112)
© Peter Dunn 2004
This page first produced 16 January 2003
This page last updated 24 April 2004