Recently converted buildings proved ill-suited to the demands of large numbers of people. In an era before air-conditioning, uninsulated huts were hot in summer and cold in winter.
While the Commonwealth Government tried to keep standards uniform across all of the hostels it managed, individual sites often posed particular problems. Dust, drainage, electrical failures, ageing infrastructure and misuse of shared facilities were just some of the headaches faced by hostel management. Encouraging large numbers of people to come to Australia was one thing, dealing with the practicalities of accommodating them in a period of housing shortages was another.
Improvements were made over time as hostel administration and staff attempted to respond to the needs of residents, but the government was reluctant to raise standards too far. It did not want hostel residents to be so comfortable that they would stay.