Advertising Australia

There were some little pamphlets and they showed beautiful beaches in Queensland, and I thought: ‘Oh, what a wonderful country it must be!’ And we heard that it was always warm and hot in Australia.
Nadia Jacoby, Ukrainian Displaced Person, Bonegilla 1949, interviewed 2009


Migrant hostels housed refugees and migrants from a wide range of countries between the late 1940s and the mid-1980s.

Federal and state governments actively advertised to attract people, selling Australia with sunny beaches and modern houses. The main target was British migrants. Australia also advertised in countries with which we had signed migration agreements, and posters and pamphlets were sent to the Displaced Persons camps in Europe.

Later refugees left for Australia knowing very little about their destination. Sometimes people heading to Australia from countries in South East Asia, South America and the Middle East received information in transit.

Where people came from, when, and what they were told about Australia before they arrived helped to shape their reactions to the migrant hostels.


I remember a poster at the Melbourne Train Station which said "Come to Sunny South Australia. As migrants from the UK, the sounded wonderful and much better than the rainy grey Melbourne we found in July 1959 when we got off the ship (SS Orion) We got on the train and moved to SA.

Corinne Ball's picture

Yes Sally, Melbourne weather can sometimes leave a lot to be desired! And then of course 43+ days in Adelaide can make you yearn for a bit of rain :-) 

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