trust01.jpg (23949 bytes) A few days after General Douglas MacArthur arrived in Melbourne on 21 March 1942 he occupied the Trustees Executive & Agency Co. Ltd. building at 401 - 403 Collins Street to establish his Headquarters for the US Army Forces In The Far East.

Bill Bentson was assigned to the Headquarters on 9 April 1942. On 18 April 1942, MacArthur was appointed Commander-In-Chief of the Allied Forces, and the Headquarters became known as General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area

In November 2000 this building was being refurbished. I did not spot any plaques or signs indicating the part that it played during World War 2. I was subsequently advised by Bill Bentson in April 2003 that Rodger DeLisle in Melbourne had visited the building and found a a National Trust plaque which read:- "Built 1937 for the Trustees Executors & Agency ..  (etc). Occupied by General MacArthur in 1942".

Many people in Melbourne believe that Macarthur's HQ was in fact at Melbourne Boy's High School and not in the Trustees Executive & Agency Co. Ltd. Building at 401 - 403 Collins Street. Locals will tell you about the tunnels that lead from the school to the Yarra which Macarthur would apparently have used as an escape route. It was not MacArthur's HQ's.

In fact the US Army Headquarters before MacArthur escaped from the Philippines was at MacRobertson Girls High School at 350-370 Kings Way, Melbourne and was known as Headquarters United States Army Forces in Australia (HQ USAFIA).


On Monday, 25 May 1942, Lt. Col. Stevens and Lieutenant Commander Johnson (LBJ!!) called to see General MacArthur at 1600 hrs at his office in Melbourne

GHQ, SWPA, moved to Brisbane on 21 July 1942 and set up offices in the old AMP Building, now know as MacArthur Chambers.



I'd like to thank Bill Bentson, Tony Baldwin and Rohan Storey for their assistance with this home page.



"The Intrigue Master - Commander Long and Naval Intelligence in Australia, 1913-1945"
By Barbara Winter


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This page first produced 9 Apr 2000

This page last updated 08 September 2018