American Red Cross Rest and Leave Facility
North-East corner, Brisbane and Victoria Streets, Mackay 4740
The American Red Cross took over the Grand Hotel in Mackay during the Second World War, as its headquarters and to accommodate service men and women on leave in the area. The period of occupation latsed for approximately two years.
Each day transport aircraft flew in between 75 and 125 men and took off with a similar number whose leave was ended.
Whilst at the Rest/Leave area, US service personnel were provided with a vast array of recreational options. Activities included roller skating, horse riding, swimming and beach activities, hiking in the hinterland and a variety of dances and social functions. The Red Cross and the US Army in their joint supply of facilities, worked closely with local community groups and businesses.
The AFVs or Air Force Victorettes, were an organisation of from four to five hundred women in Mackay who served on a roster system to entertain American servicemen on leave.
Local business, Corporate Express Stationery, now exists on the original hotel site, as the Grand Hotel was destroyed by fire on 16 October 1950.
Australian War Memorial reference
Dunn, P. Australia @ War
State Library of Queensland