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Hostel Stories - Life in S.A. Migrant Accommodation
Further Enquiries:

North Terrace Campus
Level 4, Napier Building
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005

Telephone: +61 8 8313 5570
Facsimile: +61 8 8313 3443

Hostel Stories

Hostel Stories is a research project aimed at finding out more about migrant hostels, reception centres and camps in South Australia.

This project seeks to remedy the gaps in our historical record about the hostels by bringing together the memories of former residents with extensive archival research to compile the most comprehensive information to date on temporary migrant accommodation in South Australia.



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Photos courtesy of the Migration Museum, a museum of History SA.


More Information

There were at least fourteen government-operated hostels in South Australia between 1949 and the mid-1990s. In addition there were a number of migrant work camps or other forms of employer-associated migrant accommodation.

There is very little easily accessible information on the migrant hostels, though there are some notable exceptions of memoirs by various former residents. Limited research on the official records has been undertaken to date. No comprehensive or comparative work looking at all South Australian hostels has ever been undertaken.

Thousands of migrants passed through South Australia's migrant hostels, reception centres, and camps from the 1940s to the 1990s. The hostels were temporary homes to a wide range of migrants, from Displaced Persons and refugees, through to Ten Pound Poms. The opportunity to gather first-hand accounts of day-to-day life in the hostels is diminishing as the years pass by. This project will help ensure that the memories are captured for future generations and the historical record.


The Hostel Stories project is supported by a Linkage Grant from the Australian Research Council (LP120100553) to the University of Adelaide in partnership with a range of community partners.

What's New

Pennington (formely Finsbury) Hostel, 1986

Did you know that migrant hostels were also used to house people evacuated from Darwin following Cyclone Tracy in 1974? The Hostel Stories team are interested in speaking to people who may have been evacuated from Darwin and stayed in a hostel (or other institution), or who were resident in a hostel when Darwin evacuees arrived. Please contact