United States forces in Queensland, 1941–45 – Fact sheet 234
The United States of America entered World War II following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941. On 14 December, US Defense Chief, General Eisenhower, decided that the US forces should direct their campaign from Australia. Queensland served as an important base for American forces during operations for the War in the Pacific. Nearly 80,000 Americans were located in Brisbane at the peak of the war.
The first contingent of the US forces to arrive in Australia arrived at Hamilton Wharf in Brisbane on 22 December 1941. The convoy named Task Force South Pacific included the escort ship USS Pensacola and USS Chaumont, USS Republic and USS Meigs; they had been diverted from the Philippines. The convoy disembarked a total of 4600 personnel. The first camp (Camp Ascot) was established at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm racecourse. American service personnel were also located in and around the northern cities of Rockhampton and Townsville.
Types of records
Records held by the National Archives in Brisbane about the presence of US forces in Queensland during the World War II period relate to arrangements made for accommodation and training facilities (including Allied Works Council records), wartime security matters and the community issues that arise from hosting a large contingent of foreign servicemen.