General MacArthur Arrives in Brisbane 1942
On the 23rd of July, 1942, a train pulled into the interstate platform of South Brisbane station, and the focus of the war in our region shifted to Brisbane. The arrival of General Douglas MacArthur was unheralded thanks to wartime security, but no less important to the history of Brisbane for that. The General had been appointed the Commander in Chief, South West Pacific Area, by President Roosevelt on the 18th of April and shortly after he decided to set up his General Headquarters in the AMP Building on the corner of Queen and Edward St. From his arrival, MacArthur commanded and directed the allied forces assigned to him to stop and hold the Japanese advance, and then steadily recover lost territory. His headquarters remained in the city until August 1944 when it moved forward to Hollandia (now Jayapura) in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).
In this 70th anniversary year, the MacArthur Museum Brisbane is holding a number of events to commemorate the General’s arrival and promote the history of the period.
The MacArthur Dinner
On the evening of Friday the 20th of July, 2012, the MacArthur Dinner will be held at Tattersall’s Club in the city. The Dinner will be a black tie affair with a menu based on the dishes from the famed Four Season’s Restaurant in New York. Incidental period music will be provided by Stitched Up Jazz and former Deputy Prime Minister and recent Ambassador to the Vatican, the Hon. Tim Fischer, AC, will address the gathering. Limited tickets ($130pp) are available and you can reserve your seat by emailing the museum at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you an invitation and payment details.
Seminar – ‘General MacArthur – Agent of Change’
On Saturday the 21st of July, a seminar jointly hosted by the Royal United Service Institute (Queensland) and the MacArthur Museum Brisbane will address the topic “General MacArthur – Agent of Change”. The seminar will examine MacArthur’s influence across a wide range of activities and disciplines including the development of Queensland railways, public relations in Australia, the Japanese communications industry, naval and air warfare and health and hospitals in Brisbane. The keynote address will be delivered by noted MacArthur historian, Professor David Horner and other speakers include Dr Mark Lax, Dr Chris Strakosch and Will Hopper, author of the very successful business book, The Puritan Gift. The seminar will be held at Victoria Barracks Brisbane and is open to the public. The cost, $75, includes morning and afternoon tea and lunch, but pre-registration is essential. The registration form is available here, and should then be sent to the Secretary of RUSI(Q) via email at email@example.com or posted to: RUSIQ, Victoria Barracks Brisbane, Enoggera, 4051. More details on the speakers and their papers are available here.
Back to Brisbane in the War
On Saturday the 21st of July, the MacArthur Museum Brisbane will be hosting a Back to Brisbane in the War day on King George Square in the city. The event will feature historical and re-enactment groups providing displays and activities with a forties wartime theme. Military vehicles and equipment will be there, along with a range of other attractions to interest grandparents, parents and children. See the fashions that were all the rage at the time and try your hand (and feet) at learning how to jitterbug. During the day the event will feature big band recitals playing swing era music. It’s free, so put it into the calendar, rustle up the family and come along and see what it was like to live through that important period on our city’s history. And once you have experienced all that King George Square has to offer, then pop up to the MacArthur Museum itself, on the 8th Floor of MacArthur Chambers, on the corner of Queen and Edward Streets. It will be open all day until 4pm.
Commemorative Plaque, South Brisbane Station
Finally, on Monday, the 23rd of July, a plaque will be unveiled on South Brisbane station near where General MacArthur first set foot in Queensland. This event, on the actual anniversary of his arrival, will mark the completion of the commemorative activities.