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Destination: Australia - Sharing our post-war migrant stories Australian Government - The National Archives of Australia

Hostels and migrant centres

Hostels and migrant centres

Migrant reception centres and hostels were established to accommodate the vast numbers of displaced persons and assisted migrants who arrived in Australia after World War II. Most of the early centres were set up in former army and air force camps. The accommodation was basic with shared washing and eating facilities. Over time, the camps were phased out and new permanent brick buildings were built.

Official photographers took thousands of photographs of the migrants who lived and worked in Australia’s hostels and migrant centres. Some centres featured in the collection include Bonegilla and Enterprise in Victoria, Wacol in Queensland, Graylands in Western Australia, Villawood and Scheyville in New South Wales, and Pennington in South Australia.

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Dutch family settles in

Part of: Migrants in their Homes

Dutch family settles in

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Migrants collect their meal (rear), and help themselves to tea (…

Part of: Hostels, Holding, State Reception, and Detention Centres

Migrants collect their meal (rear), and help themselves to tea (foreground), in the dining-hall at Bonegilla

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Children's ward at the hospital at Bonegilla. Centre Hospital.…

Part of: Hostels, Holding, State Reception, and Detention Centres

Children's ward at the hospital at Bonegilla. Centre Hospital. Children's ward

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This is one of the class rooms in the school which all school age…

Part of: Hostels, Holding, State Reception, and Detention Centres

This is one of the class rooms in the school which all school age children attend for formal education. Children have a lesson in the Bonegilla School. Centre school. Conducted by the Education Dept.

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Bonegilla Reception Centre for migrants. The centre was set up in 1947…

Part of: Hostels, Holding, State Reception, and Detention Centres

Bonegilla Reception Centre for migrants. The centre was set up in 1947 by the Department of Immigration. Here a group of migrant children set of to explore

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English language class and child care centre at Westbridge Migrant Centre

Part of: Hostels, Holding, State Reception, and Detention Centres

English language class and child care centre at Westbridge Migrant Centre

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Graylands Centre, a modern hostel in Western Australia

Part of: Hostels, Holding, State Reception, and Detention Centres

Graylands Centre,  a modern hostel in Western Australia

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Former residents of the Bonegilla Reception Centre, near Wodonga,…

Part of: Hostels, Holding, State Reception, and Detention Centres

Former residents of the Bonegilla Reception Centre, near Wodonga, return for reunion celebrations in 1958