"STRATHALLAN" GUEST HOUSE
LOWER GAY TERRACE,
CALOUNDRA, NORTH COAST
NOW SUNSHINE COAST, QLD
USED DURING WWII

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"Strathallan" Guest House which was located in Lower Gay Terrace at Caloundra on today's Sunshine Coast was used by the American Red Cross ARC during WWII to receive refugees from the Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines. Some of the refugees had escaped their countries via American submarines.

Karen Nunan told me that Lt. W. L. Hook, the Chief Nurse at Base Section Three Headquarters would apparently travel up to Darwin to meet and escort rescued American women and children from the Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies. Perhaps she took these rescued people to "Strathallan" Guest House. Can anyone please confirm?

In September 2013, Malcolm F. McNeill contacted Peter Parsons, son of Commander "Chick" Parsons of the Philippines Regional Section (Spyron), to advise that his 98 year old mother, Thelma McNeill was one of the American Red Cross ladies who worked at the ARC center in "Strathallan" during WWII. Malcolm advised as follows regarding the operation at "Strathallan":-

"More specifically, she was assigned to what I gather was a classified intake facility located at Caloundra where civilian refugees smuggled out of the Philippines were nourished, medically attended to, and debriefed before going on their way."

Thelma McNeill remembers that Commander "Chick" Parsons visited "Strathallan" on at least one occasion.

 

"Strathallan" Guest House at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn November 2013

"Aspect Caloundra" apartments at 80 Lower Gay Terrace, Caloundra
on the site of the former "Strathallan" Guest House.

 

"Strathallan" was partially built by a Mr. Wruck for Miss Hilda Allen-Waters and her sister Miss Jess Allen-Waters in about 1935/36. "Strathallan" was then completed by builder, Harry Liekefett and his son Eric Liekefett, and John Mayes of Caloundra. Other spelling variations for the Guest House are "Strath Allen" and "Strathallen". The two sisters' home called "Strathaird" was built on the block to the east of "Strathallan" at the same time.

 

Mrs Jean MacArthur, wife of General Douglas
MacArthur standing outside of "Strathallan".
Note the similar fence design in the 2 photos.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn November 2013

The house in the background of the above photo of Mrs Jean MacArthur
is still there. It is called "Linga On" at 61 Lower Gay Terrace.

 

Jean MacArthur visited "Strathallan" on a few occasions to reunite with friends who had escaped out of the Philippines by submarine. Mrs D. C. McKay (Harriet Mills McKay) and daughter Mary, wrote a letter to General and Mrs. MacArthur from "Strathallan", dated 20 January 1944, advising that they were ready to go back to the USA and thanking Mrs. MacArthur for visiting them at "Strathallan".  A similar letter  was signed by 19 other people who had evacuated from the Philippines. 

Mrs Jean MacArthur mentions her visits to "Strathallan" in the "Oral History of Jean Faircloth MacArthur at the Waldorf Astoria with C.R. Devine - August 1984" as follows:-

"Well, he ("Chick" Parsons) was, he was really tremendously brave and then I was going to tell you that after they began to bring those - some of -they found these various people like the missionaries and all that had been in the hills in the Philippines and the Japanese had not gotten them. Then they began to get those people - I suppose Chick and those guerrillas were able to get them where they could put them on submarines and they would get them into Australia. And then they would get them finally up to Brisbane, but it was so secret that they would take them to some hotel way on the outskirts of Brisbane - these people - and I would go out there and see them, They didn't want people to know, you see, of the contact and everything. And I used to go out there - with General Whitney - would take me out there and I would see these Americans."

 


Photo by Thelma McNeill's Box Brownie camera via Malcolm F. McNeill

At "Strathallan" Guest House, Lower Gay Terrace, Caloundra,

From left to right are Col. Whitney (aide to Gen. MacArthur), Thelma McNeill, Mrs. Jean MacArthur,
Alice Thompson (Red Cross Director), Col. Jaeger (Chief, 42nd General Hospital) and an Army
 nurse whose name we think is Nancy. This was taken at Caloundra in Spring 1944.

 


Photo by Thelma McNeill's Box Brownie camera via Malcolm F. McNeill

Commander "Chick" Parsons (at right) talking with Major Elden in early 1944 in front yard of "Strathallan".
The two houses at the right in the background of the photograph are still there in November 2013.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn November 2013

The two houses behind "Chick" Parsons and Major Elden in the above photograph as they looked in November
2013. The house on the left is called "San Jose" at 65 Lower Gay Tce and "Linga On" at 61 Lower Gay Tce.

 


Photo:- Peter Dunn November 2013

"San Jose" at 65 Lower Gay Terrace, Caloundra was built in the 1930's and comprises 4 flats

 


Photo by Thelma McNeill's Box Brownie camera via Malcolm F. McNeill

Thomas Jurika with Thelma McNeill in the front yard
 of "Strathallan" guest house at Caloundra in June 1944

 

Thomas Walker Jurika in the above photograph was working for Cebu Stevedoring at the outbreak of WWII and joined US Army as a Lieutenant in February 1942, in Cebu. He refused to surrender to teh Japanese, and escaped Cebu and joined the guerrillas in Leyte and Mindanao until he was extracted to Australia by submarine USS Narwhal in early 1944.

The Allen-Waters' sister rented "Strathallan" to a Mr. Davis after the war. May Hooper then rented the Guest House before it was sold to Paddy Stewart in 1956. Paddy included the Guest House into his Hotel Caloundra complex. After the war, the Allen-Waters sisters leased Strathallan to a Mr. Davis, followed by May Hooper. The guest house was sold in 1956 to Mr. Paddy Stewart, who then incorporated the building into his Hotel Caloundra complex.

 

UPDATE:- On 18 January 2014 Malcolm F. McNeill advised that his mother Thelma McNeill had passed away on 2 January 2014. Malcolm also forwarded a copy of Thelma's memoirs of her time at Strathallan during WWII.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Malcolm F. McNeill (son of Thelma McNeill), James Zobel, Karen Nunan, Peter Parsons and Paul Whitman for their assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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This page first produced 10 September 2013

This page last updated 21 October 2017