Migrant Hostels in Australia

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Bradfield Park Migrant Hostel





Migrant hostels in New South Wales, 1946–78

Migrant hostels, also known as immigration dependants’ holding centres, migrant accommodation, migrant reception or training centres or migrant workers’ hostels, were established after World War II to accommodate displaced persons and assisted migrants. The largest hostels were at Bonegilla (north-east Victoria) and Bathurst (NSW). Other hostels in New South Wales included Adamstown, Balgownie, Bankstown, Berkeley, Bradfield Park, Bunnerong, Burwood, Cabramatta, Cronulla, Dundas, East Hills, Ermington, Goulburn, Greta, Katoomba, Kingsgrove, Kyeemagh, Leeton, Lithgow, Mascot, Matraville, Mayfield, Meadowbank, Nelson Bay, North Head, Orange, Parkes, Port Stephens, Randwick, St Marys, Scheyville, Schofields, Unanderra, Villawood, Wallerawang and Wallgrove.

Migrants and their dependants were permitted to remain in the hostels from three to 12 months, and were given training to assist with resettlement. Much of the early accommodation consisted of disused army huts and other converted buildings. These were gradually replaced with purpose-built structures with improved facilities.

The Department of Labour and National Service administered migrant hostels until 1948 when the Migrant Workers’ Accommodation Division was established within the Department to take over control. The Division was organised into three regional offices – located in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide – from which hostels throughout Australia were run. From January 1952, the administration of hostels was handed over to Commonwealth Hostels Limited, a Commonwealth owned company registered in Victoria; the company operated until 1978.

Bradfield Park Hostel

On the 19th July, 1924, Dr J.J.C. Bradfield, together with the Ku-ring-gai Shire President, councillors and guests, attended the unveiling of a sign-post at the junction of Fiddens Wharf Road and Queens Road (Bradfield Road), West Lindfield.

The simple wooden sign post read BRADFIELD . Ku-ring-gai Shire Council had earlier i 1924, decided to delineate 640 acres of land near he Lane Cove River for the new suburb. The councillor stated "....that it would be fitting to call the new suburb Bradfield so that it numbers among its citizens the designer of the bridge and in this way its pride would be permanently recorded."


Photos of Bradfield Park Hostel collected from various Internet sites

Click on the thumbnail to see an enlargement

Plan of the migrant section of Bradfield Park Hostel