U.S. ARMY 42ND GENERAL HOSPITAL
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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The US Army 42nd General Hospital unit took over Stuartholme girls school in Brisbane to establish a hospital. They also took another 20 acres of adjoining land to build administration quarters 

The girls at Stuartholme in Brisbane were evacuated from their school to a small country hotel at Canungra near the bottom of Mount Tamborine. The hotel bar was turned into a study room. The Stuartholme girls were relocated to the Grand Hotel, at Southport when the Americans established Camp Cable in the Mount Tamborine area. The girls remained at the Grand Hotel until the end of 1944. 

Stuartholme convent and school were returned to the sisters in reasonably good condition with a number of enhancements, including some additional buildings and a lift that had been installed to carry hospital stretchers.

Graham Lord lived at Rainworth on the Birdwood Terrace Bus Run during WWII. The bus also serviced Stuartholme Girls School and the US Nurses based there used the bus to go to the city for R & R. At the age of 6 years, Graham would ask the nurses on the way home for some chewing gum. Graham said they always had some but would only give you one piece provided you sat on their knee and had a talk with them. At the end of the journey they would always then give you a full packet of chewing gum to take home. Graham now asks himself all these years later "who got the most benefit, us or the nurses being thousands of miles from home."

 


Photo: via Bill Bentson

42nd General Hospital at Stuartholme during WW2

 


"Photo courtesy of Stuartholme School"

Stuartholme during WW2

 


"Photo courtesy of Stuartholme School"

Stuartholme during WW2

 

The 3rd. Portable Surgical Hospital, which had been based in the Iron Range area, boarded the SS Wandana, an Australian tramp steamer, at Portland Roads on 19 November 1943 and disembarked at Brisbane on 29 November 1943. In Brisbane they were attached to the 42nd General Hospital. They immediately began to re-equip the organization. Physical examinations were done on all personnel. A training program was set up and followed. Leaves were granted for all personnel and the T/O has been brought up to nearly full strength with the assignment of one officer and six enlisted men. At that time they were prepared and awaiting further combat duty.

As the hospital facilities at Stuartholme did not have enough room to handle the patients sent to them, a second hospital site was established at Camp Columbia about 12 miles away by road shortly after the 42nd General Hospital began operating at Stuartholme. The Hospital at Camp Columbia was also known as Section II and also as the convalescent section. The nurses, doctors, and enlisted men rotated through the convalescent section at Camp Columbia.

The Hospital at Camp Columbia was essentially divided into three sections:-

The 42nd General Hospital's newspaper "Stethoscope" of 19 May 1943 noted that the Malaria Section had the most patients. The nurses left the Hospital at Camp Columbia in August 1943 [1] to return to Stuartholme. The remaining members of Section II moved to the new hospital at Holland Park on 21 October 1943 [2] . The officers in charge of the Hospital at Camp Columbia included Major William Walker (the first and last officer-in-charge), Major Simon Bager, Captain Crawford, and Captain Muller.

The US Army established the 3,000 bed Holland Park Hospital on a 100 acre paddock at Logan Road at Holland Park. About 300 men were involved in its construction. It took its first patients in about June 1943 when the 42nd General Hospital moved out of Stuartholme on Mount Coot-tha.

 

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Holland Park Hospital

 

REFERENCES

[1] Stethoscope, 12 August 1943
[2] Stethoscope, 1 November 1943

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I'd like to thank Ray Denning (new deceased), former President of the Mt. Gravatt District Historical Association for his assistance with this home page.

I'd also like to thank Martha Ranc, whose aunty was a nurse at Stuartholme during WWII. Martha has written a research paper on the 42nd General Hospital. Martha made me aware of the connection with Camp Columbia.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 26 May 2001

This page last updated 06 December 2016