John Henry Eyre Stubbs our dad, born 1927 before his trip to England 1952

Our dad was a Brisbane boy! Aside from his stint in London for 5 years and his retirement to the Sunshine coast, he was from Brissy and proud to be so.john stubbs birth

The Brisbane Courier: 12th November 1927:


STUBBS- on 25th October , at the Macdonald private hospital , Highgate Hill, Brisbane to Mr. and Mrs. Eric Stubbs – a son, Dr. Henry Dolman in attendance.

John was born 25th October 1927 to Eric Charles Stubbs and Meta Lilian in Brisbane’s West End.

He was born at the Macdonald Private Hospital Highgate Hill.

macdonald private hospital 1945 closesDad went to West End Public school….from 1938 ( grade 4 ) to 1941 ( grade 7). And lived at 66 Cordelia street ( south brisbane)for a time , before moving to 31 Dornoch Terrace, South Brisbane.  John most likely went to South Brisbane state school whilst living on Cordelia street from grade 1 to 3.

66 Cordelia St: Dad says that many Hoelschers lived with them ( Meta’s family):IE Audrey, Montague, and Jack. Sadly Montague killed him self with the gas oven in about 1934 . Dad says he was there, although the newspaper report talks of Meta coming home ( with dad) and being told of the event by Audrey.

Dad recounts he used to go to fancy dress balls through his dad’s company: Commonwealth Oil Refinery.In this instance it was the Commercial Traveller’s Association fancy dress for the kids: Below.( All the kids were there : George, John and Charles – all won prizes. read on to see what they were). Dad says he and his brother charlie dressed up as petrol posters!

1936 john stubbs fancy dress, Commercial Travellers Association

1938 west end state school john second top row fifth from right

Written by George Stubbs in 2010:

“As my brothers were much older than me, I tended not to have much to do with their activities.  I tended to go my own way.

However, this is what I can broadly recall.

John went to the  West End State School and then to Brisbane State High  School.  He might have before we shifted to Dornoch Tce
from Cordelia Street, we may have attended the South Brisbane State School which was just down the road..  After leaving high school,
he worked for the following shipping companies – initially either James Patrick or Nixon-Smith.  He then was employed by Birt and Co.
which was in Eagle Street.  Whilst employed he did an accountancy course by correspondence and I think the Institution was Hemmingways.

With regards the scouts, he joined the cubs at St. Andrews church which was over the road from where we lived in Cordelia St.
When  we shifted to Dornoch Tce, he joined the scouts with the West End Dutton Park Scout Troop and remained with the scout
group right through to the Rovers.

With regards the Citizen Military Forces, he asked me which unit he should join.  I directed him towards a staff unit.  He eventually joined
1 Movement Control Unit which saved him the rigors of the active arms units.  He stayed with this unit and over a period of time
rose to the rank of Captain,.  having completed sufficient time and passed all the relevant examinations.

He joined the lifesavers at Surfers Paradise and later on transferred to Burleigh Heads where Charlie was a member of that

It was in later years that I talked him into joining the Royal United Services Institute at Victoria Barracks.  His first subscription for the
Institute was a birthday present from me.  I think he still a member of the RUSI.

I can’t add much more.  If there are any queries, let me know.  Hope this helps.

George( The above is written by George Stubbs on June 3rd, 2011 ,sadly passing away June 15th, 2011).

History of West End, Brisbane.

West End was named by early English settlers who found the area reminiscent of the West End of London.

West End was one of the first suburbs of Brisbane to be serviced by a tram line, being opened in 1885. Initially the tram was horse-drawn and terminated in Boundary Street, but in 1897 the line was electrified and extended to the southern end of Hardgrave Road, via Vulture Street. It was subsequently extended down Hoogley Street to the ferry terminus at the end of Hoogley Street. The tram line closed on 13 April 1969.

tristrams factory

tristrams factory

The former Tristram’s Drink Factory, 79 Boundary St, West End, built in 1928 and one of Australia’s best examples of the Mission Revival Style architecture was converted into a market in the 1990s and remains a heritage landmark of West End.[2]

1939 school report

1939 school report

Schools in West End:

West End is in the catchment for Brisbane State High School, commonly referred to as “State High”. State High is a partially selective co-educational facility that is recognized as Queensland’s premier public school. State High’s outstanding reputation means that many families buy or rent in the area in order to ensure a place for their children at State High.

West End State Primary School is located on the corner of Vulture Street and Hardgrave Road.

earlydays of west end public school

west end public school 1938 and WW2

ration card page 1

ration card page 1ration card page 2

Brisbane State High School : 1942 – 1943

bris state high school , cover of state high magazine 1943

dad at brisbane state high swim team 1943

dad at brisbane state high swim team 1943

1943 cadets dad indicated w arrow

 cadets 1943 page one

cadets 1943 page 2

1943 note from the principal

1943 war work

Enlistments at Brisbane State High School:

enlistments page one 1943enlistments page 2We are very lucky that dad was not old enough to enlist. When you take a look at the enlistments from state high students it is astounding.

Dad went to State High for 1942 and 1943. He left at 16, and stated that it was expensive for him to be put through university and so he worked and studied accounting at the same time.( Correspondence the Tech College).  According to Keith Hamley Dad was already working in 1943. Given the times around WW2 , it is no surprise that dad went out to work, an article below indicates that it really was hard times for Brisbanites and Australians around this time. Money was an issue with regards to sending dad to university.

Work: 1943 – 1952

Dad then worked for  James Patrick and company for about 4 years  from 1943. This company was associated with the Australian water front . In 1919 Capt James Patrick together with Mr. Radford founded the Patrick Steamship Co. Ltd. to operate cargo services on the Australian coast. The company changed it’s name to James Patrick and Co. in 1925 . ( It included a shipping line and had its own vessels).  During WW2 James Patrick ships were requisitioned by the Australian Government for the war effort. The original founder Captain James Patrick died in 1945. Dad completes an accounting course by correspondence with Hemmingway and Robertson.

Dad then worked for Birt and Company, Eagle st. Brisbane (shippers)- he was a clerk and sub accountant for about another 4 years.  Dad really wanted to be a ship’s purser tried P and O when he left for England, as this company was affiliated with P & O.

1919 ad for hemmingway and robertson accounting course1948 japanese bombing james patrick and companyLife Saving and Swimming

Surf Lifesaving Club

1930’sfirst surfers life saving team 1930s

john stubbs swim titles 1947davies park baths 1952

davies park baths date unknown

davies park baths- 1930s


valley-baths 1938 – multiple dives .


Cheering_for_the_team_at_the_Valley_baths,_Brisbane,_December_1943- note the army gals!

valley baths today

valley baths today

1947 john stubbs lifesaver

In the above article of 27th December 1947, 14 bathers were rescued within 45 minutes by belt men and lifesavers. Dad saved six surfers that day. ( They say many of those rescued were young girls – maybe that is why the guys went in so fast! )

rescue at kirra 1948

This would have been a similar scene in 1947 with dad rescuing young girls!

1946 off to the titles at mooloolaba

The team won 12 of the 15 events held at the titles. Front row (L-R): Bill Neilson (Ganger) (with shirt), John Moffatt (with out shirt and standing with hand on Frank Roslyn’s shoulder) and Frank Roslyn (with shirt and holding rope), Tommy Plunkett (face visible only). Second row (L-R): Ken Stewart (without shirt), George Walsh (partially visible), John Stubbs (partially visible), Fred Richards (without shirt kneeling and holding rope), Keith Hall (without shirt kneeling) and Charlie Walsh (without shirt). Back row (L-R): Bill Hookway (without shirt with hand on reel), Stan Pratley (holding rope) and Mick Crocker (leaning on reel).

surfers paradise 1950s

1947 john stubbs lifesaver

Dad is the second highest row approx. 4/5th from the right w suit and tie.surfers lifesaving club c 1946 or 47 dad on the left next to the man with the pennant

 Picture of dad as part of the 1947 R & R champions. The names that come to mind from Keith at the club are : Fred Thee, Frank Roslin ( capt) and John Moffit.

frank roslin 1936 rescue of couple

1947 memorial trophy frank thee

 ( Fred Thee was a member of the RAAF in the war and was awarded a trophy donated by Mr. W J Park whose son, was also of the surf club who died as an RAAF pilot during the war ).

As per Keith Hamley:

1949 surf club and frank roslan

One of the reasons dad left surfers paradise related to some problems within the club – the Souths Rugby League guys were getting a bit rough.One member was “Mick” Crocker, a South’s Rugby Player who played for australia in England twice, sometime around the 1950’s. See article below. We should ask dad how much time was spent at the Chevron!It is my understanding that he got to know these south’s guys from Davies Park , ( West End) . Dad met them whilst swimming at Davies Park swim club, and they convinced him to join the Surfers Paradise Lifesaving club.

1940s the boys hitchiking

1940s the boys hitchiking

“Mick, Joe, Shooter, Horrie”–Inscription on original. Left to right, Mick Crocker (he played Rubgy League for Australia), Bill (Joe) Hookway, Pat Shee and Horrie Bevan. They are standing near Sid Pratt’s Fish Shop opposite the Chevron Hotel, Surfers Paradise. They were members of Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club who would hitch a ride from Surfers Paradise to Brisbane after spending the weekend on Surfers Paradise Beach working as surf lifesavers.

Mick Crocker played for Australia in 1950 and at least one more time. In 1950 Australia beat Great Britain in Sydney 5-2.

chevron hotel 1950

chevron hotel 1950

mick crocker 1950 england test

mick crocker 1954

Getting to Surfers Paradise:

Keith writes of catching a tram to South Brisbane station, then a train to Southport, then a bus to Surfers Paradise.

800px-StateLibQld Southport_train_at_Tweed_Heads_Railway_Station,_1940

800px-StateLibQld Southport_train_at_Tweed_Heads_Railway_Station,_1940 Notice the wood railway cars .




-International_K_series_bus_in_Brisbane,_1943, something Like? the bus would have taken in brisbane and on the gold coast. ( This is a Brisbane City Council Bus)

Surfers Paradise Club 1946:

1946 Byron Bay surf titles surfers paradise sending its strongest team

John was part of the team as runner up in the the State Junior surf race. Fred Thee and Fred/Frank Roslan were also included in the team.

Dad managed to represent QLD with the surf lifesavers , he traveled to Sydney twice.  Dad says he joined the club when he was only 17, hence was a junior at the first titles. According to records:  The 1946-47 titles were held at Maroubra NSW – dad  competed at Cronulla.  The 1947-48 titles were held in QLD- according to the newspaper article this is the one that Surfers’s Paradise won, (although the records indicate North Bondi won the R & R! ?)In 1948-49 titles the competition was held at Manly and North Bondi won. Dad must have gone to this one and came second? The 1949-50 titles were held at Bondi and the Burleigh Heads R and R team won,( did dad go to this one as a member of the Burleigh Heads team?)  Dad says he went  to Manly where he  stayed at the North Head Army Barracks. He traveled to Sydney by DC3 plane .

1947 john w keith hamley

Bears on the beach

In the 1940s, trainee Royal Australian Air Force pilots wore flying suits with fake fur on the inside. After the Second World War, the linings were available from war surplus stores. Surf lifesavers wore the linings with the fur on the outside. Known as bear suits, they were a cheap and comfortable way to keep warm while on patrol. Lifesavers also wore them to dances and on road trip

In early 1949 or late 1948  dad went to Burleigh Heads lifesaving club.

Burleigh Lifesaving Club ( Mowbray Park):

Burleigh Heads doc from WW2

Started in 1923 the club was a Brisbane based life saving club, founded at East Brisbane’s Mowbray Park swimming pool.His brother Charlie was also a member at the club. Dad and Charlie bought a car together and so were able to drive to the club every weekend.

john 's car dornoch terrace

john ‘s car dornoch terrace

More History of the Burleigh Heads Lifesaving club:

In the nineteenth century visitors were so impressed with the area that they called the stretch of beach at Burleigh Heads as a “marine township ” reserve in 1871. 65 surveyed allotments were put up for auction in 1872 for 2 pounds each. The Tallebudgera farmers thought it was a rich man’s folly. The only use they could see for the beaches was as the district’s only serviceable road , and as the local race track. In the 1870’s only the foolhardy would risk the perils of open surf bathing in those days. The first cottage was erected in late 1885.

In 1911 a shed was built for a life line along with some water closets for any swimmers. At this stage visitors to Burleigh were camping in tents. During the summer of 1911/12 the very first lifesaving squad appeared on the beach , recruited from the campers. The first recorded use of a life belt was on New Year’s day 1912 when three gentlemen were carried out by an undertow. But a famous rescue occurred the 10th June 1912 when the SS Timaru on its way from the Clarence River to Brisbane sprung a leak. A long sweeping roller capsized the boat throwing the occupants out into the ocean. Alfred Hugh Stevens (21) with his belt on, managed to save a Mr. Deer and another passenger a Mr. Murray was  brought to shore but unfortunately could not be revived.  Alfred Stevens was presented with a gold watch and chain by Mr. Deer whilst the family of Mr. Murray presented him with a gold sovereign case.

By 1918 local authorities with sea fronts were urged to provide life saving facilities at seaside resorts. Back then tents were provided for those who would patrol various beaches over the holiday period and they were paid 3 pounds with fair paid each way. ( The QLD branch of the Royal Lifesaving Society was formed in 1905). By 1922 a local Burleigh Lifesaving Club was in existence – known as the “Nerang patrol of lifesavers”. By 1924 Burleigh was now promoted as a safe beach. The first inter club competition at Burleigh Heads on the 29th March 1925 – unfortunately one of the boats capsized and several competitors were carried out by the current and had to be rescued by line and reel.

The club was revived after  the Mowbray Park life saving club in Brisbane visited the club in late  1925 .The Mowbray Park boys helped out in 1927 as the club was going through financial? and membership problems.   The Brisbane based Mowbray Lifesaving club decided to move to Burleigh Heads and to disaffiliate from the Royal Life saving society . One of the reasons was the lack of decent baths for the club, hence the change to the gold coast, as their only chance to patrol were at various baths in Brisbane.( The Mowbray Baths were a shark proof enclosure in the Brisbane River – not always shark proof and at times muddy! )  They wanted something more challenging and in a more conducive environment.Not only did Mowbray Park patrol the Burleigh Heads beach, but also the beaches of Bribie Island and Redcliffe. There were even lady members of the club … By 1929 Mowbray Park had taken over the Burleigh Heads club.

burleigh heads song 1950

Burleigh heads song 1950

WW2 and onwards: Burleigh Heads and the Lifesaving Club. 

Burleigh Heads from WW2 onwards

burleigh beach scene 1948

burleigh beach scene 1948

burleigh heads 1950 showing camping on the foreshore

burleigh heads 1950 showing camping on the foreshore

Camping was allowed on the foreshore until about 1959. Burleigh Heads continued to be popular with the campers and caravaners . The “Paradise Caravan Park” was established in 1954 by Mr. and Mrs. Haddell. The Deluxe theatre formed part of the entertainment along with the Beach Marquee which housed Jack Mortimer and his Frisco Six playing the Lee Golden Gate Caberet (which blew down in  a storm in 1947). The one thing that did survive the cyclones was Jack Evans’s swimming pool built in 1953 on the water front – the first pool in the area.

The first branch carnival after the war was was held on Burleigh beach in 1945. There were only five clubs in the competition , and Surfers Paradise dominated the competition.( Dad was still a member back then at Surfers Paradise. ) One of dad’s old rivals A. Imrie, now after the war, known as Col. Imrie on the 14/2/1945 saved 4 out of 5 people ssingle handed … One would assume that dad and he caught up when Dad joined the club in 1948/49.

1950 john stubbs lifesaving burleigh heads

The interest in surf life saving grew with the surge in the number of people on the South Coast beaches. By 1950 they questioned whether there should be organized patrols through out the year. The introduction of the 40 hour work week meant that many now had two free days each weekend. In 1949/50 trucks were hired from R. Jackson Pty Ltd. to bring members to the club. But by 1954 a regular trucking contract had been abandoned. Mates offered lifts, hitch-hiked and there were paper delivery trucks leaving Brisbane with the Friday evening telegraph and lifts back with the Sunday Mail truck. Food rationing was still in force, but the Club successfully approached the Rationing commission for extra coupons to purchase meat and butter, and purchased an electric stove for the kitchen in 1947. ( Some mothers may have known about the five gallon keg purchased from Castlemaine Perkins – often initially housed in the cold room at Cannon and Cripps undertaking establishment – which provided liquid refreshment for the evenings. )When more was needed there were the local pubs. The surf boat for instance, would be taken on training runs up Tallegudgera creek with the added incentive of a stop over at the Dunville Arms Hotel at West Burleigh. It eventually became necessary to place bunks in the Boat House to provide sufficient accommodation after 1946 .  A new dormitory was eventually opened in 1958

burleigh heads lifesaving club today

Burleigh heads lifesaving club today

State Lifesaving titles : March 1949:

“Burleigh drew Barry Tickle for patient and State Champion , Allan Imrie for the belt swim and won easily. Kirra immediately protested to referee Bill Daly , who ordered that the event be re run, with all teams making a complete draw. Burleigh drew John Stubbs for the belt in the re run, but he failed to reach the buoys. Etty Bay and Kirra were the only teams to finish. Burleigh then lodged a new protest, claiming that a draw for club stations on the beach had not been made in the re run.  The belt title went to A Imrie”.( Dad’s old mate from Surfers Paradise).

Outstanding bravery

Surf lifesaver Leo Ryan was attacked by a shark at Burleigh Heads on 25 November 1950. Although the shark was still nearby, Gavan Horsley put on the belt and swam out. Ryan had lost his left hand and was swimming feebly, leaving a trail of blood. Horsley brought him safely to shore. A shark believed to be the culprit was caught three days later. Leo Ryan still owns its jaws. For his bravery, Gavan Horsley was awarded the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia’s silver medal.

Entertainment at Coolangatta  on a Saturday Night:  Dad says that he went to Danceland Coolangatta for entertainment.( Danceland was opened in 1953 by the mayor of the Gold Coast – Alderman Len Peak).  I have yet to find a picture of Danceland , however it looks like they had a few radio broadcasts from there of live music. New Year’s Eve was a popular night for Danceland and  various radio stations including 2MW Murwillumbah would broadcast at night around 9.15 pm.

John and Keith Hamley:

stradbroke island keith hamley and john stubbs & 1947 Manunda cruise to Cairns

south mole  island keith hamley and john stubbs & 1947 Manunda cruise to Cairns

The above pictures show keith and dad on the “Manunda “( bottom picture) to Cairns. The top picture is at the Hotel Pacific Cairns. It is possible the bottom right hand picture is on South Mole Island . See Keith’s email on dad below.Keith Hamley on dadCairns Hotel: Hotel_Pacific_in_Cairns,_ca._1936


On the morning of 19 February 1942, Manunda was damaged during the Japanese air raids on Darwin‘, despite her highly prominent red cross markings on a white background. 13 members of the ships’ crew and hospital staff were killed, 19 others were seriously wounded and another 40 or so received minor wounds. The Manunda was able to act as a casualty clearing station for injured personnel from other ships involved in the attack.( The Manunda was a hospital ship).

Manunda was decommissioned in September 1946 and received an extensive 18 month refit in Melbourne. She returned to service on 2 April, 1948, transporting passengers around the Australian coast. In September 1956 she was withdrawn from service and placed on the market. She sold very quickly and was purchased by Okadagumi Shipping Ltd of Japan. She sailed from Sydney for the last time as TSMV Hakone Maru on 4 October, 1956.

Sadly, the company’s plans for her did not eventuate, and she was broken up the next year in Japan, arriving in Osaka on 18 June 1957.

The interior of the Manunda 1940 - many fittings were retained during the war

The interior of the Manunda 1940 – many fittings were retained during the war

1949: dad was living at 31 Dornoch Terrace as a clerk , dad says he was a sub accountant. At this time, Jack Hoelscher may have been living with them at 31 Dornoch Terrace.

George tells me that Dad joined a staff unit of the Citizen Military Forces, ( Army Reserve) He eventually joined 1 Movement Control which saved the rigors of the active arms units. Dad says in the early days he was the first year with the Naval Reserve Brisbane , and he would go off on a 2 week trip. (He eventually gained the rank of Captain in the Reserve army ).Brisbane in the 1940’s WW2 and early 1950’s:

I am asking dad where he may have socialized and get back to you on that. In looking at dance halls and places like that in Brisbane I came across “Cloudland”, previously known as “Luna Park “.

Cloudland, known during the war years as “Luna Park” was on 6.5 acres and was opened 2/8/1940, located on the crest of Mountpelier at Bowen Hills . An open air furnicular railway first ran people up the steep hill from Breakfast Creek Road to the rear entrance. The businessman who opened the ballroom T.H. Eslick quickly disappeared after its opening! It floundered till it was taken over by the Military in WW2. Fascinating that the place was serviced by the 837th Signals Service Detachment who operated the IBM tabulators ( the forerunner of the computer) . These tabulators were used for General Douglas Mac Arthur’s top secret signal unit which was known as the Central Bureau.  The tabulators were actually located in a large garage behind a two storey house located at 21 Henry St. Ascot. This house was used by the Central Bureau, No.1 wireless unit and NO. 11 Aus. Cypher section, Royal Aus. Corps of Signals, as well as the 837th Signals service.

21henryst plaque covering the real usage of the Henry st. home

21henryst plaque covering the real usage of the Henry st. home

cloudland ballroom



Cloudland was quite famous in its day , 1940’s 50’s. In 1958 six concerts were performed by Buddy Holly. In the 1960’s , 1970,s and early 80’s it went into a decline. It was “illegally” demolished Dec 17th, 1982.

Cloudland arch, the famous landmark in Brisbane

Cloudland arch, the famous landmark in Brisbane

WW2 Amusements in Brisbane as published by the Red Cross :

WW2 amusements in brisbane by red cross

WW2 amusements in brisbane by red cross

Dad tells me he went to the Grand Central Hotel in Brisbane and the United Services Club. ( I have been corrected by Dad,  he was a member of RUSI , the Royal United Services Institute of Australia – Victoria Barracks, not the United Services Club). He says that he used to go to the tennis courts there- did not know dad played tennis !The Barracks still have one of Queensland’s oldest grass tennis courts ( built in the 1890’s),along with an officer’s mess and museum. It still operates as a working barracks, and was built around 1864. The barracks have the Victoria Barracks Brisbane Club- which is an officers and sargeants mess.

( The web site for RUSI)

The Victoria Barracks, Petrie Tce. Brisbane.

Victoria _Barracks_1872_from John Oxley library

Victoria _Barracks_1872_from John Oxley library

victoria barracks outside 1955

victoria barracks outside 1955

victoria barracks tennis court 2004

victoria barracks tennis court 2004

United Service Club:

united services club 1954 decorated for royal visit

united service club 1954 decorated for royal visit

United Services Club’s brick  building (183 Wickham Terrace Brisbane)was built in 1910 and was called “Montpelier”. The United Service’s club’s wood building known as the Green House was built in 1907( and was home to the Moreton Club for Ladies).The Green House is now connected to the Montpelier building and is located at 173 Wickham Terrace.

United Services club Green house 2008

The Montpelier building was leased by Ms Molly Sheehan( private secretary to RM King , minister for public works and construction),  in 1940 for use as an almost exclusive gentleman’s boarding house. ( So exclusive the gentlemen had to have references to get in ). During the WW2 the American military commandeered it for the US officers. Gen. Macarthur’s physician, Col Johnston lived there for many years whilst Gen. Macarthur worked at the AMP building. The united Services club bought the building in 1946 and officially moved into the building in 1947.

Montpelier: This was a gentlemen only club once used exclusively for serving and retired officers and was only opened to civilians in 1990. The ground floor was used for two lounges, a dining room, library, bar and kitchen. The second floor for residential rooms and the third floor for billards, and cards with bathing facilities. All levels had wide verandahs facing the city ( later closed in ).

united service club 2008

united service club 2008

(George Stubbs told me he gave dad a membership at the United Service Institute – Victoria Barracks club for his birthday , not sure what year. );jsessionid=0a10032330d696c53c41c2614e6a8250e057c9586dd9.e34NaN8SbNyKci0La3yPah8OaN90n6jAmljGr5XDqQLvpAe?placeName=United+Service+Club+Premises&siteId=16513&mediaImageId=2531144&mediaDescription=United+Service+Club+Premises+-+Montpelier+%282008%29&mediaProductionDate=2008-09-23+00%3A00%3A00.0&copyright=DERM

Grand Central Hotel :

grand central hotel queen st brisbane

grand central hotel queen st brisbane 1939

WW2 in Brisbane:



The Japanese bombed a hospital ship off the coast of QLD May 1943:

Centaur_ 1943 sunk

Centaur_ 1943 sunk

Depicts the Hospital ship, ‘Centaur‘ being attacked by the Japanese off the coast of Queensland, during the Second World War. In the water below the ship are a number of nurses and sailors from the ship. The sinking of H S Centaur took place off the Queensland coast in May 1943 and 286 lives were lost, including 11 out of 12 nurses. The poster depicts moments after the ship was torpedoed; it later sunk. ( The ship was sunk 10 miles east of Cape Moreton ).

Dad tells me that his local chemist when he was living at Dornoch Terrace was a Mr. (J.) Taylor who was S/Sargeant Taylor the dispenser with the 2/12th field ambulance . Dad said something about him being located near State High?The number of those from the 2/12th who died was astounding of which he was one. I have counted over 137 killed by drowning .

memorial plaque on board the Centaur - 12th january 2010

memorial plaque on board the Centaur – 12th january 2010

The Memorial Plaque was placed on the Centaur’s fore deck just starboard of
the forward No. 1 Hatch opening at 0555 hours on Tuesday 12 January 2010


Survivors_from_a_ship_torpedoed_by_Japanese_off_the_coast_of_Queensland,_Brisbane,_May_1943- leaving hospital ( Storey Bridge in the background).



Cartoon of American and Australian troops against a common enemy. Cartoon drawn by U.S. Army seviceman stationed at the Air Depot at Eagle Farm, Brisbane (WWII).





Eleanor Roosevelt arriving in Rockhampton, Queensland, 9 September 1943 President Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt visited American troops based in camps, hostels and hospitals in Australia during September 1943. She was welcomed to Rockhampton by the Army Minister, Mr Forde and attended by Lieut.-General Robert Eichelberger.

The Battle of Brisbane: ( US vs Australians)26-27 Nov. 1942

Brisbane found it difficult to cope as the population went from 300,000 to 600,00 almost overnight. Many US personnel were stationed in and around Brisbane. The city was fortified, schools were closed, brownouts enforced, crime increased and many families sold up and moved inland.

Violence occurred between US military personnel on one side and Australian military and civilians on the other. One Australian soldier was dead and hundreds on both side were injured. ( Apparently leading up to it there were 20 brawls a night between Australian and American servicemen).

“The Americans had the chocolates, the ice-cream, the silk stockings and the dollars. They were able to show the girls a good time, and the Australians became very resentful about the fact that they’d lost control of their own city.”
—Sergeant Bill Bentson U.S. Army

US servicemen marching through King George Square 1943

US servicemen marching through King George Square 1943

The Lennons Hotel in Brisbane was commandeered in part by the US and General MacArthur.

lennons hotel 1949

Lennons hotel 1949- George street Brisbane

General Douglas MacArthur and his most senior officers from his General Headquarters South West Pacific Area (GHQ, SWPA) were housed on the top floor of Lennons Hotel. Mrs Jean MacArthur and their son Arthur were also accommodated at Lennons Hotel. MacArthur had four adjoining suites for his personal use. They each had a bedroom, living room, kitchen, office and library. A red and white striped canvassed awning was erected over the entrance to the hotel in honour of MacArthur’s presence in the hotel.

After Pearl Harbour the American Task Force South Pacific  convoy was ordered to proceed to Brisbane , Queensland. The Penasacola convoy docked in Brisbane, on 22nd Dec. 1941. The headquarters for the US army forces in Australia relocated from Lennons Hotel to the MacRobertson Girls High School( Melbourne) in 1942.However, the entire top floor of Lennons was eventually requisitioned for use by the American forces.General MacArthur( his wife and son) and his most senior officers were housed there, with the MacArthurs occupying suites on the 4th floor. Many Hollywood celebrities visited including Gary Cooper in 1943. Lennons was given the code name: “Bataan”.( The Battle of Bataan- the Japanese captured the Philipines in early 1942. )

The General Headquarters for the South West Pacific was in Brisbane’s AMP building. Daily war meetings took place with the Australians and Americans in the Air force war room.

AMP Building :

Second World War 1939-1945
In this building, General Douglas MacArthur
Supreme Commander Allied Forces South-West Pacific
established his Headquarters on 21st July 1942
and here he formulated the initial plans
which led to final victory
over the Japanese forces on 15th August 1945.
The forces under his command comprised
Navy, Army and Air Force personnel of
Great Britain, United States of America,
Australia, New Zealand and Netherlands East Indies.

general macarthurs staff car outside the AMP builiding headquarters

general macarthurs staff car outside the AMP builiding headquarters

( There is a macarthur museum in the AMP building – above)

( Above, guided tours for Brisbane’s heritage in WW2).

( Above, military camp locations in Brisbane)

3 bomb shelters in forittude valley

3 bomb shelters in forittude valley

There are 3 bomb shelters from WW2 in this section of East Street, Fortitude Valley.
They have been modified to turn them into an open air shelter. The Valley
Baths in Wickham Street can be seen at the left hand side of the photograph

fordmotoreaglefarm air raid shelters

ford motor eaglefarm air raid shelters

Slit trench system being built at Ford Motor Works, Eagle Farm, to provide air raid protection on 17 January 1942.

elizabethst airraid shelters brisbane

elizabethst airraid shelters brisbane

Numerous concrete public Air Raid Shelters were installed along Elizabeth St., Brisbane
during WWII. The large water pipe installed for fighting fires can be seen in this 1942
photograph. This photo was taken from behind the Treasury Building (now Casino) with
Queens Park on the right where the palm trees are. The Queensland Government
Insurance Building (later the Administration Building) is the building in the background.
The large building further along Elizabeth St. is Perry House on the corner of Albert St.

During WWII numerous Air Raid Shelters were built in Elizabeth Street, Brisbane, Queensland. A large water pipe was also installed in the street to fight fires during and after any possible Japanese air raid. It was supplied with water from the Brisbane River. Large pumps and motors were installed on the banks of the Brisbane River to pump the water through the large pipes.

There were many Air Raid Shelters built around Brisbane during WW2. It is generally unknown by most Brisbane people that many of them are still partially standing and used as bus shelters or shade shelters in parks around Brisbane. Many people stand under them or drive past them not realising their original use during WW2.

On 29 March 1942, General Douglas MacArthur announced his support for the Australian Governments proposal that no more African-American soldiers be sent to Australia during World War 2. The proposal also suggested that those units that were already in Australia should be sent to New Caledonia or India. General Douglas MacArthur said:-

“I will do everything possible to prevent friction or resentment on the part of the Australian government and people at the presence of American colored troops … Their policy of exclusion against everyone except the white race known locally as the ‘White Australia’ plan is universally supported here”.

john curtin prime minister with Gen. D, MacArthur visting Canberra for a dinner in his honour March 1944

john curtin prime minister with Gen. D, MacArthur visting Canberra for a dinner in his honour March 1944

Did you know that Somerville House was used during the war? – American Base section 3 was established there.( See above).

( The above is from the War memorial with regards where attacks took place in WW2 in Australia ).

Dad leaves in 1952 for England :

1952 photo of charlie and meta eric stubbs nancy skinner

1952 photo of charlie and meta eric stubbs nancy skinner

Dad leaves Brisbane for London England and on the dock are charlie his brother, his mum meta , eric his dad and his girlfriend nancy skinner – interestingly she looks like our mum!( According to records , in 1937 Nancy was in Bourke NSW )

Dad left on the “Mooltan” and arrived 22 /5/1952 to London.

The ship Mooltan was built in Ireland and held 700 passengers. The journey went Brisbane, Sydney , Melbourne, Adelaide, Columbo, Bombay, Suez Canal , London and took two months. The journey cost 99 pounds which included entertainment and food . This ship was only to travel another two years before being broken up for scrap in 1954 at Faslane.

SS Mooltan

SS Mooltan

arrival london 1952 john

arrival london 1952 john

His address was with Uncle Harold – Down Park , Bovey Tracey, S . Devon. His profession was as an accountant. Dad tried to get a job as a purser with the P and O Line without success.

Dad tells us that he met a girl, last name Cooper, who he befriended on the ship . One of the two coopers on board, Mary R or Joan S Cooper asked dad to a party in London where he met our mum Joan.

mary cooper and joan cooper's records on board the ship the Mooltan 1952

mary cooper and joan cooper’s records on board the ship the Mooltan 1952

Mary R Cooper was a telephonist (25) and Joan S Cooper (23) was a nurse. What are the chances then, that Joan Cooper worked with mum, possibly explaining how our Joan came to be at the same party as this Joan, and her sister Mary. (Weird how, dad married a Joan with a sister Mary – it was destiny).





Dad tells me that there was a group who were on the ship from England, they were partly the tennis club folk. ( Dad said he played on the B team for  QLD? in tennis , all part of the Q LD tennis club. One of the ladies who went with him on the ship was Marie Warnes. Apparantly when in London she shared a flat with Rolf Harris who was at art school back then, and Marie may have also been at art school. Dad said she made hats!

Dad tells me that he was a member of the YMCA and played Water Polo. He said he played the London Police and received 7 stitches on his head? during that game.

England :

Bude Cornwall : Australians volunteer to lifesave at Bude:

Alan Kennedy who was a lifesaver at Byron Bay and then at Surfers from approx. 1941 – 1946 where he was the state superintendent. In 1951 around the same time as John he went to England for work and there he promoted lifesaving at Bude. By the end of 1953 the first British lifesaving club was formed with 22 volunteers.


alankennedy1954 bude surf club article is a newsreel with Alan Kennedy presenting a surf boat in London to a British lifesaving club. (1960s).bude cornwall 1950’s

bude cornwall back of postcard

bude cornwall back of postcard

Dad had written on the back of this postcard that the Bude Rotary Club “meets monday 1pm at Falcon Hotel Bude, Pres. Nigel Cox”

falcon hotel bude

falcon hotel budefalcon hotel bude recent

europe1952 arthur and perris in bristol- that is dad in the consul w david stubbs

europe1952-013b arthur , perris and uncle harold

Dad meets up with Uncle Harold and his son, Arthur and his wife Perris. Their son, David is the little chap. Dad says that he helped Uncle Harold in his garden with his fruit? trees.

london 1952

london 1952

Dad went to the channel islands with Uncle Harold and other family members and Europe in August 1952 with John Hayter.

Dad went to Sark , the Channel Islands with Uncle Harold, George and Peggy Sharples. They stayed two weeks and Dad seems to have a soft spot for Sark. He told me of how they went around by Horse and cart, since there are no cars on the Island. I noticed that Uncle Harold below was called “The Prefect” ! It looks like “La Fregondes”may have been the accomodation.

Whilst I have sparked his interest with the fact Sark and other Channel Islands were occupied during WW2.

Here is one or the operations on Sark: Operation Basalt.

europe1952 channel islands with harold

europe1952 channel islands with harold

1952 england

1953 england- dad gets transferred to Norwich with Burroughs and this is his address in Norwich







Dad sees an advertisement for a sales person  and gets a job with “Burroughs”………London.

He was living at 21 Bassett Rd. W10.

21 bassett road

21 bassett road-the area around.

Burroughs England :1953-1956

In 1953 the Burroughs Adding Machine Company was renamed the Burroughs Corporation, a name more reflective of their broad scope of products, which began to include computers. In 1986, Burroughs Corporation merged with Sperry Corporation to form Unisys Corporation. The Burroughs family’s legacy lived on not only through William Seward Burroughs, his adding machine fortune and the Unisys Corporation, but also through his late grandson, William S. Burroughs, the novelist, who died in 1997.

nottingham burroughs building

nottingham burroughs building

burroughs london office 1963

1952 burroughs exhibit

1952 burroughs exhibit

Dad sold adding machine he says for 100 pounds each. He described in a letter to his dad  that he had gone to the Burroughs dinner dance in Nov. 1953 and sat at the executive table. He was a fill in for the manager of the demonstration van who was away in Scotland. He describes the branch manager as a Canadian and his number 2 was a Mr. Collins – an American.

burroughs demonstration van

burroughs demonstration van

1952:Van bearing the Burroughs name across the hood and the Burroughs logo and slogan along the side. The logo reads: “The Mark of Superiority in Modern Business Machines” Next to the door it reads: “Burroughs Mobile Demonstration Unit No. 1.” Companion image to ID no. 287 and no. 316

1960 bank employees using burroughs machines

1960 bank employees using burroughs machines

europe1952 dad with dorothy and the bomb

1952/3 dad with dorothy and the bomb- that is a bomb in front of the car.

We have to ask Dad who Dorothy was. This was taken on a trip to Bovey Tracey with Aussie friends.

1953 to bovey tracey

1953 to bovey tracey

The Coronation and Dad at Buckingham Palace 1953:

queen elizabeth at royal agricultural show

queen elizabeth at royal agricultural show

. john ready for the tea party at Buckingham Palace

Somewhere in and around this time , dad was nominated by the lawyer ( Jackie ) at Queensland house for his contributions to lifesaving and so was invited to Buckingham Palace for tea.

queensland house 1959 london taken for its centenary    ( centenary of QLD)

1953 qld house the coronation

 lord chamberlain invites, 1953

lord chamberlain invites John to a Palace Tea Party 1952/3

coronation 1953 w pic of queen in carriage

coronation 1953 w pic of queen in carriage



 1953 coronation

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9 Responses to John Henry Eyre Stubbs our dad, born 1927 before his trip to England 1952

  1. Gillian McMillan says:

    The pics and info. are really neat and well done. Thank you.

  2. Daniel Dennis - Brisbane says:

    A pretty wonderful collection of memories, images and moments captured forever. Congratulations on a heartwarming labout of love.

    • Thanks Daniel.
      I came upon doing this as my brothers were getting so many family history emails they said “put it in a blog”.
      It has been a great journey . It started after my mother died and her trove of family information got me started.

  3. computers says:

    What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has aided me
    out loads. I hope to give a contribution & assist other users like its aided me.
    Great job.

  4. A wonderfully presented history which I greatly enjoyed reading. Especially pleasing to hear that your Dad sailed aboard Mooltan – one of my favourite ships.

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