"PALMA ROSA"
COMMANDEERED BY THE AMERICANS DURING WWII
FOR THE COUNTER INTELLIGENCE CORPS,
G-2 SECTION, HQ U.S.A.F.F.E.

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"Palma Rosa"

"Palma Rosa" is a 3 level sandstone mansion built in 1887 on a hillside block at Hamilton in Brisbane by architect Andrea Stombuco. It is located at 9 Queens Road, Hamilton. By 1890 the house was a rental property. From 1904 to 1934 a son of Sir Arthur Hunter Palmer, a former Queensland Premier, live at "Palma Rosa".

"Palma Rosa" was originally called "Sans Souci" when it was first built. Other spelling variations for its most recent name are "Palmerosa" and "Palmarosa".


Photo:-  Di Bingham

Palma Rosa

"Palma Rosa" was commandeered by the Counter Intelligence Corps, G-2 Section, Headquarters U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (U.S.A.F.F.E.). Their Brisbane Headquarters was in the old T & G Building on the corner of Queen and Albert Streets. The upper level of "Palma Rosa" was apparently used as a movie theatre by the Americans.

The Military Telephone Directory for the Brisbane area dated May 1944, lists the Counter Intelligence Corps at "Palmerosa" (not "Palma Rosa"). "Palmerosa" does not show up in the telephone directories of Dec. 1942, Oct. 1943 or Feb. 1945. By late 1944 most of the major Headquarters had moved from Brisbane to New Guinea and the Philippines.

The following officers were assigned to "Palmerosa" in 1944: Capt. E.P. Geiss, Lt. T.W. Applegate, Lt. R.W. Hodgson and Lt. E.F. McLaughlin. There would have been several Enlisted Men also on duty in the office.

Another separate Intelligence organisation, called Central Bureau Intelligence (CBI), was also located in the general area in a large building at 21 Henry Street, Ascot.

By 1951, "Palma Rosa" had become a Boarding House. Sir William Knox and several other Judges stayed there. By the 1960's, the new owners converted the house into a Convalescence Hospital and the verandas were removed.

By 1972, "Palma Rosa" was almost derelict when it was sold at Auction to Ralph Holden on behalf of the English Speaking Union (ESU), which is an educational charity dedicated to promoting international understanding and human achievement.

"Palma Rosa" overlooks the Albion Park Racetrack and Breakfast Creek. It is a short walk from the famous Newstead House. During the war, Albion Park Racetrack was the only operating racetrack in Brisbane with Ascot (new Eagle Farm) and Doomben racetracks both being turned into Army Camps known as Camp Ascot and Camp Doomben.

By the year 2000, the house has been almost fully refurbished. The building at that time was being used by the English Speaking Union as an Art Gallery for visiting collections and as an excellent venue for exhibitions, weddings and any other social functions.

"Palma Rosa" was sold in March 20101 amid some controversy.

 

English Speaking Union

 

Signal Intelligence Units in Australia during WW2

 

Did you live or work at "Palma Rosa" during WWII?

Can you help me with any more information about "Palma Rosa" during WWII?

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I'd like to thank Major Bill Bentson (retired) of Brisbane for his assistance with the above information on the World War II years.

 

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 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 16 September 2000

This page last updated 21 March 2010