Image: State Library of Queensland Image No. 72633 – Air raid shelters on Ann Street, Brisbane, 1942
The then Queensland Premier Peter Beattie officially opened the MacArthur Museum on 15 August 2004, the 59th anniversary of the end of the fighting in the Pacific.On opening the Museum, Peter Beattie said “We have our indigenous history but we also have our contemporary history – particularly the involvement of MacArthur in the war, and the wars themselves.” (1)
Stage two of the exhibition, sponsored by the Brisbane City Council, opened to the public on 6 March 2007. It focuses on the Brisbane wartime experience:
• the wartime experience of children
• wartime entertainment
• the role of the Queensland railways
• the operations and impact on the city of the Navy, Army and Air Force.
At a time when it was feared that Brisbane might be attacked, the Museum takes you through the story of a ‘Brisbane at War’ and covers aspects of the era, and their impact on the people of Brisbane. It covers topics such as the impact of restrictions on food, fuel, clothing and personal freedoms.
The SWPA Gallery was funded by a grant from the US Mission to Australia through the US Consul General’s Office in Sydney. Its focus is on the emergence of the spirit of cooperation which developed between Australian and US forces operating in SWPA. The gallery exhibits are designed so that different aspects of the campaign can be highlighted over time. At present, there are exhibits focussed on the cooperation between the Royal Australian Navy and the US Navy; the Australian and US defence of Milne Bay and the Royal Australian Air Force and the US Army Air Force. New galleries are being exhibited regularly.
This gallery focuses on issues such as civil defence, austerity (War Bonds and rationing of food, fuel and clothing material) and social life. It will expand upon the exhibits already found in Wartime Experience displays.