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FISH STEAM LAUNDRY in the SERVICE of the UNITED STATES ARMY, WWII

The registered letter has a blue registered label for Fortitude Valley, N.1, Queensland which is partially obscuring the firm’s name (Fish Ste)am Laundry Pty. Ltd., Laundry & Dry Cleaning Service, Hats Cleaned and Blocked, and there is a picture of the premises. It was addressed to The Commander-in-Chief, General Headquarters, United States Armed Forces Pacific, A.P.O. 500. The pair of the blue 5½d ‘Peace’ stamps are cancelled FORTITUDE VALLEY/ ( ) MY 46/ QLD AUST, and there is a return address of 733 Ann Street, Brisbane (Figure 1).

There are 6 different postmarks and the earliest is the same FORTITUDE VALLEY/ 2 MY/ 46/ QLD AUST cancel on the front, and on the same day it was cancelled with a black REGISTERED/ 7.30P-2MY46/ BRISBANE.. There is a red double circle cancel of MAY/ 3/ 1946/ REGISTERED (possibly a ‘blind’ cancel still in Queensland), contiguous to a purple U.S. ARMY POSTAL SERVICE/ MAY/ 9/ 1946, followed by a purple double circle SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. A.P.O./ MAY 13/ 1946, as well as a purple double circle SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF./ MAY 14/ 1946 (Figure 2).

George Fish was Secretary of the Brisbane Steam Laundry at the corner of Stanley Street ans Soda Water Lane, Brisbane from the early 1880s and he was an alderman in the South Brisbane City Council from 1901-1903. The business originally managed by him was moved to larger premises in 733-734 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley in 1903 and it continued as the Fish Steam Laundry Pty. Ltd. The original building erected by George Fish in 1902 was a two-storey brick building. Fish sold out his interests to Mr. J.C. Penny and associates in 1921. Improvements were made from time to time and several smaller laundries were bought out, including Standard, Globe, Glencoe, Morror and Brisbane Laundry Ltd.

The laundry was let to the United States Army during World War II who operated it entirely for their own work. During their occupation another two storeys brick building was added. At this time it was the second largest laundry in Australia, as well as being the most modern.

A picture of a dapper George Fish, a picture of the Fish Steam Laundry with a horse and buggy drawn up outside, and the ironing department of the original Steam Fish Laundry, Brisbane in 1902 are seen in Figures 3, 4 & 5.

 

What follows has been excerpted from my paper about Lewis Beck Sebring and General Douglas MacArthur, which can be found in Category: Armed Forces, at my website:

"On 20 July 1942, MacArthur moved his Headquarters to the AMP building in Brisbane at the corner of Queen and Edward Streets a few doors away from the GPO. [ The laundry in Fortitude Valley is 1.5 km from the G.P.O.]. A communications center was established in the building’s basement. His Central Bureau Intelligence had headquarters in a huge building at 21 Henry Street, high on a hill in Brisbane’s suburb of Ascot, not far from the new American airfield at Eagle Farm.

MacArthur became Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific and his combined forces (mainly U.S., Australian and Dutch) eventually overran the Japanese forces in 1943 and 1944. They took back the Philippines in October 1944 and in September 1945, MacArthur received the formal Japanese surrender which ended WW II in the Pacific. MacArthur served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) with the responsibility of overseeing the reconstruction of Japan. He handed over power to the newly formed Japanese government in 1949, but he remained in Japan until June 1950". A picture of General MacArthur (seen on right) is shown in the present paper as Figure 6).

 
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