PLEASE NOTE: Newstead House is currently closed. Re-opening Fridays and Sundays from 2 August 2024.

Year 10: The War Years - Americans at Newstead

We invite your students to experience war time Brisbane through The War Years: Americans at Newstead as they are transported back to this place in time.

The War Years: Americans at Newstead is a half day program that engages young people, using Theatre-in-Education, in the culture clash experienced by the people of Brisbane when the ‘American Invasion’ of US service personnel occurred during WWII’s expansion into the South Western Pacific from 1941. Newstead Wharf, opened in 1936, was used by the military during WWII. In March 1941 crowds gathered in Newstead Park and other vantage points to welcome a fleet of American ships. By December, the USS Pensacola arrived unannounced following the bombing of Pearl Harbour by the Japanese. From 1942 Brisbane became a major military supply depot and naval base for the war in the South Western Pacific. Brisbane had a population of 300,000 in 1941 and over the next four years the city hosted over a million US servicemen.

Newstead House was occupied from 1942 by service personnel of the Photographic Detachment of the 832nd Signal Service Company, Signal Section of the United States Army Services of Supply. The house was used as barracks for the men, whilst nearby Cintra House contained the photographic laboratory. A gun emplacement was located on the riverfront beyond the bandstand and a series of air raid slit trenches were dug in Newstead Park. An air raid shelter was located in the park on the creek bank, built over by the Breakfast Creek Bridge in 1959.

Immediate impacts of the ‘American invasion’ included new forms of entertainment culture: dances, drinks, dress and sport. Cola became the drink of choice, with 10 000 bottles imported to the first American PX (postal exchange) in South Brisbane in 1942. Americans taught local girls to jitterbug, baseball was played at Perry Park and volleyball at Newstead House. Many local girls fell in love with American servicemen and war brides were an international phenomena during and after the war.

We invite your students to experience war time Brisbane through The War Years: Americans at Newstead as they are transported back to this place in time.

Key inquiry questions provide a framework for developing students’ historical knowledge, understanding and skills through the use and interpretation of sources. They include:

*The War Years: Americans at Newstead Theatre-in-education program supports Depth Study #1: World War II (1939–1945).

The War Years: Americans at Newstead  program can be conducted morning 9.00-11.30am or afternoon 12.00-2.00pm. Two classes can be accommodated in the morning and two classes in the afternoon.

Curriculum Intent

Historical Knowledge and Understanding – World War II
Historical Skills

Chronology, terms and concepts

Analysis and use of sources
Perspectives and interpretations
Explanation and Communication
General Capabilities
Critical and creative thinking
Analysing, synthesising and evaluating reasoning and procedures
Ethical Understandings
Ethical Understandings

THE WAR YEARS: Americans at Newstead House

Further resources for teachers can be found at Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre.