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United States Military Police encamped at Sydney University1944

by Isabel MacKenzie

The first contingent of American GIs arrived in Brisbane on 22 December 1941. While most of the American forces were based in northern cities, Sydney became a main centre for leave. By early 1942, Sydney was on a war footing, impacting tertiary institutions, along with everyone else in the city.

Isabel MacKenzie, teaching art at Sydney Teachers’ College, recalled that the cosy, family atmosphere of the college changed dramatically once the Japanese had entered the war in December 1941. The college was co-located on the grounds of Sydney University where American Military Police units were billeted, their tents lined up in neat rows.