War Bonds Issuing Office (United States Navy)

Bell Brothers Building

Type
Supply facility
Region
Brisbane City

57 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley 4006

The Bell Brothers furniture showroom was a well-known Brisbane commercial building that was leased by the US Navy from 1943 to 1945. It provided office space for three USN sub-units, the 7th Fleet’s Photographic Developing Laboratory, the War Bonds Issuing Office and the Central Control Office of New Pay Procedures.

History

The Bell Brothers Building was constructed in 1923 and was severely damaged in 1931 fire and rebuilt in 1932. By 1939, Bell Brothers had made a success of making its solid, hand-crafted furniture that won awards at the annual Royal Exhibition Show. The US Navy leased the modern Bell Bros Furniture showroom & factory Building through the Australian Army Hirings Service (at Victoria Barracks) on 17 June 1943. This is a three-storey brick building. Each floor has an area of 2,100 square feet. The ground floor that has a prime commercial at the prominent Brunswick and Water Streets corner has two large show (display) windows on the Water Street side. The windows could also be seen by the tram, motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic passing along Brunswick Street.

The USN conducted four activities from this building. The US Seventh Fleet’s Photographic Developing Laboratory occupied the second floor of Bell Brothers until November 1944. On the ground floor, with its major display windows, was the USN War Bonds Issuing Office. War bonds were a government scheme where bonds were sold to the public or service personnel on the understanding that the money would be repaid with interest at the end of the war. War bonds were used to raise revenue to fund the war effort. The War Bonds Issuing Office occupied approximately 800 square feet of floor space. This USN organisations shared the ground floor with the Cap Boat Leave Office and USN Central Control Office of New Pay Procedures. They occupied the remainder of the ground floor, approximately 500 square feet.

In January 1945, in a review of its remaining Brisbane facilities, the USN recommended that the War Bonds Issuing Office, the Cap Boat Leave Office and the Central Control Office of New Pay Procedures be transferred to the Audio Visual Training Library Building at the USN Training Centre in Lammington Avenue, Newstead. The Bell Brothers Building would then be returned to Australian Army Hirings Service. The USN ended its lease in March 1945.

Source/comments

USN Bureau of Yards & Docks Section 1946; BCC Heritage Unit citation.