United States Army warehouses
- Supply facility
- Brisbane City
40 Railway Street and 61 Railway Parade, Nudgee 4014
On 20 July 1942, US General Douglas MacArthur transferred his Australian headquarters (HQ) of the South-West Pacific (SWPA) command from Melbourne to Brisbane. Brisbane was chosen as it possessed major port facilities; was a rail hub; and was closer to the frontline in Papua and New Guinea. Thus Brisbane became a major Allied base during the Pacific War, of equal significance to Pearl Harbour (Central and Northern Pacific commands HQ) and Bombay (South-East Asia command HQ).
These twin warehouses are examples of the military infrastructure that the American forces constructed in Brisbane so as to develop it as an important logistical base and the SWPA headquarters.
Construction of some US Army warehouses at Nudgee was proposed in August 1943. The site chosen was at the lower end of St Achs Street where it bordered the rail line to Sandgate. The Queensland Government’s Department of Works looked to purchasing a site in Nudgee to build military storage facilities close to Brisbane’s suburban rail network. The site chosen was the St Achs Street market garden that was owned by Archibald Goonchee. Goonchee was quite dissatisfied as the Works Department paid him £175 for the lease of this block of land that he had paid £375 for in 1941.
By October 1943, two warehouses and an accompanying rail siding were built. One warehouse was labelled the ‘X’ Building with the other known as the ‘Y’ Building. Each warehouse was 262 feet long by 123 feet wide and a 44-foot roadway gave truck access to the site via St Achs Street. While the warehouses were aligned so that their entrances faced Railway Street, this was not chosen for the placement of the roadway that allowed site access. This was because Railway Parade was low-lying and prone to flooding. Having constructed the roadway, the Brisbane City Council sold it to the US Army for £50.
After the US forces began moving to their new base at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea from May 1944, Australian and other military forces used the warehouses. By 10 April 1946, it was holding medical stores for the Dutch forces then engaged in Indonesia.
On 19 July 1945, before war’s end, the Commonwealth bought the warehouses site from its new owner Guy Sue Tin. The finalisation of the sale dragged on for nearly four years. While still nominally the owner, Tin wanted to earn income from the warehouses. He hoped to lease the ‘X’ Building to Danesi Brothers and the ‘Y’ Building to furniture manufacturers Sue Brothers by the end of 1946. The leases eventually went to Parkinson Steel (‘X’ Building) and S & G Furniture (‘Y’ Building). Tin was finally paid £175 in 1949 for his property.
BCC Heritage Citation.
National Archives of Australia.