Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Australian American War memorial, Newstead Park

(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

It seems to me that there are only a couple of reasons why Japanese is not my native language. The first is the heroic action of the diggers on the Kokoda Track and the second is the Battle of the Coral Sea. Both of these significant events repulsed the southward movement of the Japanese armed forces who were desperate to reach Port Moresby. Once there, the next step would have been the invasion of Australia.

Last week was the anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea. It occurred between 4 May and 8 May 1942, and from a naval history perspective it was significant because it was the first naval battle where the opposing ships didn't fire on each other directly. In fact, they didn't even see each other - the battle was fought by planes launched from aircraft carriers.

Opposing the Japanese Navy in the Coral Sea was an Allied force of American and Australian ships. The assistance of the Americans in this battle has never been forgotten.
In 1951, the Australian-American Association erected the first American war memorial in Australia at Newstead Park (the grounds that surround Newstead House, which was occupied by American forces during WWII). Here is a picture of the man who sculpted the eagle on the top of the memorial, Tom Farrell of Ipswich, at work on the project; below that is the finished eagle.
(Photo: www.ipswich.qld.gov.au)

(Photo: http://www.qldwarmemorials.com.au)

The following photograph shows a service held at the memorial in 1954 to commemorate the Battle of the Coral Sea. The American officers are Admiral Halsey and Commander Kitchell.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #195462)

And here is a photo that shows the 12-metre memorial in its setting at the northern end of Newstead Park, next to Breakfast Creek. It was taken in 1961.
(Photo: nla catalogue; #4590773)

I took another photo of the memorial recently, and the change in Brisbane's skyline can be seen in the emergence of apartment blocks along the riverfront.
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)

The long rectangle on the right side of the Australian American memorial indicates the name of this area of the park, Lyndon B Johnson Place. To the right of that (out of picture) is the memorial to the Australian Corvette naval ships.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. Time marches on. In the 1961 picture the memorial stands tall and proud almost a easter Island figure. Your picture makes it look like just another palm trunk with its fronds cut off. Poor 1950's landscape garden planning I guess.

  2. It's probably the angle. I tried to replicate the earlier viewpoint. The monument is actually pretty imposing if you are in the park.


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