The American Red Cross (Amcross) in Australia during WW2 became the largest hotel and restaurant chain in Australia at the time. Amcross was headed by Norman H. Davis with its headquarters in Sydney, NSW. 

The American Red Cross Service Club in Sydney was at 165 Phillip Street, in Sydney. It was open 24 hours a day and had 232 beds which cost 9 pence per night. Breakfast costs 9 pence and lunch and dinner were listed at various prices. Showers were free. There was a barber on site seven days a week and clothes pressing, billiards, table games, reading and writing facilities were available.

General George Marshall officially recognised Amcross "as the non military agency to operate with our expeditionary forces during the war."


Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt greeted by Mrs Jean MacArthur
at Archerfield airfield on the south side of Brisbane in 1944


Closeup of the above photograph. Note the American Red Cross (ARC)
badge on  Eleanor Roosevelt's collar. Also not USA-2, Mrs. MacArthur's
staff car parked in the background.


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Eleanor Roosevelt visiting the North American Service Club in Townsville.  Photo from Gordon Heup of the 48th Quartermaster Truck Regiment who camped near the Cluden Race Track and then at Railway Estate


Four American women led by Miss Helen Hall arrived in Australia in about late August 1942 to take charge of American Red Cross Service Personnel and to establish new American Red Cross centres and to extend existing centres. Miss Hall was the administrative assistant to the delegate in charge of American Red Cross Service Clubs and Leave Areas in Australia. The other three women were Miss Hannah More Frazer, who was appointed Director of the American Red Cross Service Club in Melbourne in about September 1942; Miss Florice Langley who opened an ARC Service Club in Cairns, in far north Queensland; and Mrs. Anita Woodworth who opened an ARC Service Club in Charters Towers in north Queensland.

On 26 May 1943 the Brisbane Courier Mail reported that Miss Sally Howe, was a member of a small group of American Red Cross workers who had recently arrived in Brisbane to assist Miss Mary K. Browne, the Director of the American Red Cross Service Club. Sally Howe's special department was the arrangement of entertainments for Allied servicemen. Sally lived in Yale Apartments at Upper Edward Street in the city which is now known as Acacia Inner City Inn at 413 Upper Edward Street, Spring Hill.

An article in the Brisbane Telegraph on 15 December 1943 showed a photo of Miss Sally Howe, Assistant Program Director of the American Red Cross, assisting two soldiers to decorate a Christmas Tree for the children at the Montrose Crippled Children's Home at the American Red Cross Service Club on the corner of Adelaide Street and Creek Street. Voluntary workers at the Club made toys for the Christmas Tree and servicemen donated money to purchase toys and books for the children to use in the Montrose Library.

A large farewell party for employees of the American Red Cross Service Club was held on the evening of 16 November 1945 at the club. Approximately 200 people attended and guests were all personally welcomed by Miss Sally Howe, who was by then the Director of the American Red Cross in Brisbane. Mr. H. L. Trites, the Australian Director of the American Red Cross, travelled from Sydney for the farewell party. All the guests received a special card autographed by the staff. The Brisbane Club was the last ARC Club to remain open in Australia.

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


North American Service Club B14, American Red Cross
for African American soldiers at 380 Flinders Street in Townsville


Click on the picture


American Red Cross Guide to Brisbane and Suburbs
issued to American service personnel


American Red Cross Service Club, Brisbane
Corner of Creek Street and Adelaide Street


Sans Souci Officer's Club, Southport
American Red Cross


  American Red Cross Centre Coolangatta,
Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta


 "Strathallan" Guest House
at Lower Gay Terrace, Caloundra



"Yanks down Under 1941-45, The American Impact on Australia"
By E. Daniel Potts & Annette Potts

"Will Plan Army Entertainment" - Brisbane Courier Mail 26 May 1943

"Xmas Tree for Crippled Children" - Brisbane Telegraph 15 Dec 1943

"US Red Cross Farewell Party" - Brisbane Courier Mail 17 Nov 1945



I'd like to thank Rob Gordon for his assistance with this web page. His mother Sally Howe was the Director of the American Red Cross in Brisbane during WWII.


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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 29 August 2004

This page last updated 04 September 2020