"DUNCRAGAN", 4 CLEVELAND
MELTON HILL, TOWNSVILLE, QLD
COMMANDEERED BY THE US ARMY DURING WW2
"Duncragan" is a lowset house at 4 Cleveland Terrace, Melton Hill, in Townsville overlooking The Strand. It was commandeered by the US Army during WW2 and was used as a private residence for at least one US General, possibly General Kenneth Walker, Major General Ralph Royce or Brigadier-General Martin Scanlon.
Brigadier General Henry B. Clagett was probably the first General to live in Townsville. He was placed in charge of the port of Townsville. Where did he live while he was in Townsville?
Jan Arthur (100044) was the regular WAAAF driver for General Kenneth Walker. Jan remembers driving General Douglas MacArthur, along with General Kenney, and General Walker to the 'Cream House', the Headquarters on top of the hill in Townsville. (Does anyone know where this was?). Perhaps it was "Duncragan"?
At the eastern end of the house there used to be a large look-out tower which was removed during World War II. There were a series of small rooms built inside Duncragan during WWII. It has been suggested this was used for a hospital. Another explanation could be that they were used for personal accommodation rooms for senior ranking US Officers.
"Duncragan" was acquired by the University College of Townsville in 1961 and was used as a Women's Residence for the University which is now called the James Cook University.
There is some confusion in records about the spelling of this house. Variations are Duncragan, Duncragen and Duncraigan. Based on the most prevalent spelling found through Trove Newspaper searches it would appear that Duncragan is the most likely spelling. Below are a few of the articles.
The Townsville Daily Bulletin of Wednesday 23 March 1949 contained the following article:-
Miss Olive Duncan, Duncragan, Melton Hill, who has been holidaying at West Point, Magnetic Island, returned home on Monday.
The Townsville Daily Bulletin of Tuesday 10 May 1949 contained the following article:-
Miss Nita Duncan, Duncragan, Melton Hill, left by plane on Monday for Sydney.
The Cairns Post of Tuesday 24 May 1949 contained the following article:-
State Buys Townsville Property
One of Townsville's best known homes, Duncragan, on Melton Hill, owned by the Misses Olive and Nita Duncan has been purchased by the State Government. It is understood that the property is to be used in connection with the maternal welfare branch of the Department of Home Affairs. Our Townsville correspondent.
The Townsville Daily Bulletin of Saturday 29 October 1949 had an Advertisement for the Public Auction of "high Class Household Furniture inside "Duncragen", No. 8 Cleveland Terrace, Melton Hill. Note it stated the house number as No. 8 rather than No. 4. One of the items listed was a "Heiron & Smith full size billiard table which the Americans apparently danced on at their parties during WWII.
The Townsville Daily Bulletin of Thursday 31 May 1928 has an Advertisement for a Grand Card Evening to be held at the residence of Mrs M. Duncan "Duncragen", Melton Hill that evening with an entry fee of 2 shilling and six pence.
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Restoring Historical Duncragan House
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© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 31 July 2004
This page last updated 11 February 2019